Lavrov says “formalized” Russian territories would have Kremlin’s “full protection”

Any territory that is formally incorporated into the Russian Federation will “benefit from full protection,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday.

“The entire state territory of Russia that has already been or can additionally be formalized in the constitution of our country will certainly benefit from full protection,” Lavrov said during a press conference in New York.

“How can it be otherwise? All the laws, doctrines, concepts, and strategies of the Russian Federation are applicable throughout its territory.”

Lavrov’s comments came a day after four Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine started voting in referendums on joining Russia, according to their separatist leaders — a process that continues Monday. The referendums are illegal under international law and dismissed as “a sham” by Western governments and Kyiv.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced immediate ramped-up military measures in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, adding: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people.”

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