The head of the UN condemned Russia's move to annex Ukraine's occupied territories following what the West called ''sham'' referendums.
''Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned,'' Antonio Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters.
''It stands against everything the international community is meant to stand for,” he said. “It is a dangerous escalation. It has no place in the modern world. It must not be accepted.''
The referendums have been widely condemned by the international community, with European nations and the US saying that they will not be recognized.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will formally announce Friday the annexation of the four regions in a signing ceremony in Moscow, according to the Kremlin.
Guterres said any annexation of a state's territory by another state resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the UN Charter and international law.
He urged Russia, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, to respect the charter and step back from the brink.
''Any decision by Russia to go forward will further jeopardize the prospects for peace,'' he said. ''It will prolong the dramatic impacts on the global economy, especially developing countries and hinder our ability to deliver life-saving aid across Ukraine and beyond.''