Ukraine Calls Emergency Meeting of Security, Defense Chiefs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo)

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will hold an emergency meeting with top security, political and defense 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 organized what Kyiv and the West said were sham referendums staged at gunpoint on Russian-held Ukrainian territory.

“President Volodymyr Zelensky 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 online.

Zelensky 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,” Zelensky’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 defense, 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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