MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. The referendums on joining Russia, held in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, were in strict compliance with international law, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The referendums were held in strict compliance with the rules and principles of international law. The people of Donbass and southern Ukraine exercised their legal right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Charter, the 1966 International Covenants on human rights, the 1975 CSCE Helsinki Final Act, and the July 22, 2010 [Advisory] Opinion of the UN International Court of Justice on Kosovo, which confirmed the fact that a unilateral declaration of independence by part of a state does not violate any rule of international law," the document says.
The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that the results of the referendums prove that the people in those regions are unwilling to go back to their old lives and that they have made a conscious and voluntary choice in favor of Russia.
"Despite the provocations of the Kiev regime, which gave criminal orders to launch massive artillery strikes on crowded places and civilian structures, the people were not scared to come to polling stations and express their will," the statement says.
The Foreign Ministry pointed out that a cohort of 133 international observers from Venezuela, Italy, Germany, Latvia and other countries, who monitored the referendums, also recognized their results as legitimate.
"We say thank you to the foreign experts, bloggers, journalists, and representatives of public organizations for their courage, honesty and objectivity," the ministry added.
"A critical period of cooperation to fulfill the wishes of the people of the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions to be together with Russia will take place in the near future," the statement said.
From September 23-27, the DPR, the LPR, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions held referendums on joining Russia. The majority of residents in these regions voted in favor of the decision.