MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. Russia reserves the right to decisions on the results of the referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), and in the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions without taking into account the opinion of NATO member states, Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, said at a plenary session of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation, according to the text of his speech published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Wednesday.
"We keep hearing emotional statements that the results of the referendums will not be recognized in the West. What is the response to that? To begin with, if NATO enlargement could be implemented without regard to Russia’s opinion, our country will also be taking decisions on the results of the referendums without taking into consideration the opinion of the alliance’s member states. We have every right to do so," Gavrilov said.
In Gavrilov’s words, Russia resolutely rejects "the reckless insinuations of the foreign policy leaders of European states, who are spreading tall tales alleging that voters in the referendum ‘were shot, raped, forced to put a cross [on a ballot paper], while soldiers were standing nearby with Kalashnikov rifles in their hands’."
"It is highly regrettable that anti-Russian lies similar to those of Kiev’s ombudswoman [Lyudmila] Denisenko have taken root in Europe. What the mentioned representatives are really right about is that the people of the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions were subjected to armed violence. But it was done by those who used to call themselves their brothers," he pointed out.
"Let me say again that the only threat looming over them was incessant shelling by Ukrainian armed forces, aimed at intimidating citizens and disrupting the popular will. In some settlements, precinct election commissions had to work in bomb shelters, as they were shelled from NATO weapons. There are casualties, including among children," he added.
On September 20, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions announced a decision to hold referendums on joining Russia. Voting took place on September 23-27. The overwhelming majority of residents in these regions voted in favor of the decision.