Election commission members count votes of refugees from Russian-held regions of Ukraine for a referendum at a polling station in Simferopol, Crimea, on Tuesday. AFP
The United States was also preparing a new round of sanctions against Russia should it annex Ukrainian territory and a $1.1 billion arms package for Ukraine that will be announced soon, US officials said.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the United States and its allies remained committed to European energy security, after Germany, Sweden and Denmark said attacks caused major leaks from two Russian energy pipelines. It remained far from clear who might be behind the leaks.
Hastily arranged votes took place over five days in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson to the south, that together make up about 15% of Ukrainian territory.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken speaks during a meeting. File photo
Vote tallies from complete results on Tuesday in the four provinces ranged from 87% to 99.2% in favour of joining Russia, according to Russia-appointed officials. The head of the upper house of the Russian parliament said the chamber might consider annexation on Oct. 4.
"The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia!," Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who serves as deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Telegram.
Within the occupied territories, Russian-installed officials took ballot boxes from house to house in what Ukraine and the West said was an illegitimate, coercive exercise to create a legal pretext for Russia to annex the four regions.
"This farce in the occupied territories cannot even be called an imitation of a referendum," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in video address late on Tuesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a press conference. File photo
The United States will introduce a resolution at the UN Security Council calling on member states not to recognise any change to Ukraine and obligating Russia to withdraw its troops, US envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.
"Russia’s sham referenda, if accepted, will open a pandora’s box that we cannot close," she said at a council meeting.
Russia has the ability to veto a resolution in the Security Council, but Thomas-Greenfield said that would prompt the United States to take the issue to the UN General Assembly.
"Any referenda held under these conditions, at the barrel of a gun, can never be remotely close to free or fair," Britain's Deputy UN Ambassador James Kariuki said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi — in comments made to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba at the UN General Assembly Friday — said the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected".
On Moscow's Red Square, a stage with giant video screens has been set up, with billboards proclaiming "Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson — Russia!"
Governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyy posted photographs of the charred shell of a four-story building and rescuers searching rubble. In a later Facebook post, he said many Russian soldiers and some local residents also were killed during the fighting on Sunday.
Kathy Lueders, who heads the agency's human spaceflight program, told reporters on a call that operations on the research platform were proceeding "nominally" and "we're not getting any indications at a working level that our counterparts are not committed."
The summit was attended by leaders and representatives of the GCC countries and President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China, in addition to delegates from several international organisations.
On his official account on twitter, Tam Khan said that he was in a famous restaurant in Dubai, to celebrate his wife's birthday, where he was surprised by the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid in the restaurant with some guests.
The provisions of the Decree-Law apply to non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country unless someone adheres to the application of his country’s law.