The U.K. has announced new sanctions against Russian officials for their involvement in organizing so-called elections in occupied territories of Ukraine, the British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced on Sept. 29.
Sham elections were held in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, which include Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea, from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10.
The U.K. has sanctioned Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) for its role in organizing the sham elections, as well as individuals including Natalya Budarina, the CEC Secretary, and Marina Zakharova, who heads the so-called election commission in Kherson.
"Russia’s sham elections are a transparent, futile attempt to legitimize its illegal control of sovereign Ukrainian territory," Cleverly said.
"You can’t hold ‘elections’ in someone else’s country," he added.
The announcement of these sanctions "comes one year on from Russia’s illegal attempt to annex the Ukrainian oblasts of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk after falsified and illegitimate sham referendums," the U.K. Foreign Office said.
The population of these regions "voted overwhelmingly for Ukraine’s independence in 1991, and their continued resistance against Russian aggression shows their determination to remain part of an independent and sovereign Ukraine," the U.K. Foreign Office added.
In October 2022, 143 states voted to condemn Russia’s attempted and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory at the UN General Assembly, emphasizing that no territory gained by the use of force will be recognized as legal internationally.
According to the British government, 1,600 individuals and entities have been sanctioned by the U.K. since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.