The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Friday condemned Russia’s illegal annexation of the Ukrainian territory.
Calling Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision "unacceptable," the OSCE in a statement said: "This action by the Russian Federation, which includes military mobilization and irresponsible nuclear threats, will only lead to greater escalation of conflict, putting further millions of lives at risk and causing more senseless human suffering."
"The step announced today is a blatant violation of the fundamental rules of international law, OSCE principles, and the UN Charter," it added.
Urging Russia to withdraw all its forces from Ukraine, the OSCE reiterated its "unwavering support" to Ukraine’s population and its commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
The statement said the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Margareta Cederfelt, OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid, and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Secretary-General Roberto Montella "unanimously and categorically condemn the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation of territory in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts of Ukraine, as well as the continued occupation of Crimea."
Putin announced Friday the "accession" of Ukraine’s four regions to Russia.
On Sept. 23-27, Ukraine’s separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and Russian-controlled parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson held referendums on joining Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said over 98% of people living in the Ukrainian regions supported the "accession" to Russia.
The referendums have been condemned by the international community, with European nations and the US calling them "sham" and saying that they will not be recognized.