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Ukraine calls emergency meeting of security, defence chiefs

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will hold an emergency meeting with top security, political and defence officials on Friday, following the Kremlin’s announcement of plans by Russia to annex four Ukrainian regions.

The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would sign documents on Friday proclaiming Moscow’s annexation of regions where Russia organised what Kyiv and the West said were sham referendums staged at gunpoint on Russian-held Ukrainian territory.

“President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called an urgent meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine for tomorrow. The agenda and other details will be announced later,” presidential spokesperson Serhiy Nykyforov wrote on Facebook.

Zelenskiy has said repeatedly that the so-called referendums were illegal and warned of a robust Ukrainian response.

“The territorial integrity of Ukraine will be restored. And our reaction to recognition of the results by Russia will be very harsh,” Zelenskiy’s office quoted him as telling Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi during a phone call on Thursday.

The National Security and Defense Council includes, among others, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the defence, foreign and prime ministers, and the head of the Ukrainian Security Service. It is tasked with working with the president on developing and coordinating national security policy.


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