The foreign secretary has called on countries to reject the “charade” of referenda to be held in Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, James Cleverly said Vladimir Putin plans to fix the results of votes on becoming parts of Russia.
He said: “We have information which means that we know that Russia is about to hold sham referenda on sovereign Ukrainian territory with no basis in law under the threat of violence after mass displacements of people in areas that voted overwhelmingly for Ukrainian independence.
“We know what Vladimir Putin is doing. He is planning to fabricate the outcome of those referenda, he is planning to use that to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory, and he is planning to use it as a further pretext to escalate his aggression.
“We call on all countries to reject this charade and to refuse to recognise any results.”
Russian foreign minister walks out of UN summit after speech – Ukraine latest