A service member of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic LPR votes during a referendum on joining LPR to Russia (Picture: REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko).
A service member of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) votes during a referendum on joining LPR to Russia (Picture: REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko).
Ukraine

Russia vetoes UN resolution calling its referendums illegal

A service member of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic LPR votes during a referendum on joining LPR to Russia (Picture: REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko).
A service member of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) votes during a referendum on joining LPR to Russia (Picture: REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko).

Russia has vetoed a UN resolution that would have condemned its referendums in four Ukrainian regions as illegal, declared that they are invalid and urged all countries not to recognise any annexation of the territory claimed by Moscow.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 10-1 with China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstaining.

The resolution would also have demanded an immediate halt to Russia's "full-scale unlawful invasion of Ukraine" and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all its military forces from Ukraine.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, before the vote, that in the event of a Russian veto, the US and Albania, who sponsored the resolution, will take it to the 193-member General Assembly where there are no vetoes, "and show that the world is still on the side of sovereignty and protecting territorial integrity".

That is expected to happen next week.

Britain's UN ambassador, Barbara Woodward, echoed secretary-general Antonio Guterres' statement that Russia's actions violate the UN Charter and must be condemned.

"The area Russia is claiming to annex is more than 90,000 square kilometres," she said.

"This is the largest forcible annexation of territory since the Second World War. There is no middle ground on this."

The council vote came hours after a lavish Kremlin ceremony where President Vladimir Putin signed treaties to annex the Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, saying they were now part of Russia and would be defended by Moscow.

WATCH: Russian army desperately short of the basics.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield said the results of the "sham" referendums on whether the regions wanted to join Russia were "pre-determined in Moscow, and everybody knows it".

"They were held behind the barrel of Russian guns," she said.

Adding that "the sacred principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity" at the heart of the UN Charter must be defended, she said: "All of us understand the implications for our own borders, our own economies, and our own countries if these principles are tossed aside.

"Putin miscalculated the resolve of the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian people have demonstrated loud and clear: They will never accept being subjugated to Russian rule."