Ukraine: "We will give up nothing of what is ours," says Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that if Russia proceeded with referendums in occupied areas of his country on joining Russia, there could be no talks with Ukraine or its international allies, Reuters reports.

Russian forces and their separatist allies currently hold large swathes of territory in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region and in southern areas. Officials in both areas have raised the possibility of holding referendums.

In his nightly video address, Zelensky said Kyiv was holding fast to its position of yielding no territory to Russia. "Our country's position remains what it always has been. We will give up nothing of what is ours," he said.

"If the occupiers proceed along the path of pseudo-referendums they will close for themselves any chance of talks with Ukraine and the free world, which the Russian side will clearly need at some point."

Russian forces hold most of Kherson region in southern Ukraine and officials in charge have suggested a referendum on joining Russia could be held within the coming weeks or months.

In Donbas, Russian proxies seized chunks of territory in 2014, held independence referendums and proclaimed "people's republics" in Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The Kremlin recognised the republics on the eve of the February invasion.

The governor of Luhansk region, almost entirely under Russian control for several weeks, suggested over the weekend that Russia was preparing for a new referendum in newly captured areas and was offering residents benefits for taking part.

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