Ukrainian officials have pointed fingers at Uruguay for allegedly participating in a “collective crime” by supporting President Vladimir Putin's attempt to annex occupied regions.
The government of Volodymyr Zelenski warned that representatives of eight countries, including Uruguay, are participating in a collective crime by their observation of the referendum being held in occupied regions of eastern and southern Ukraine regarding its annexation by Russia.
According to Montevideo's El País, Ukraine's Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories has posted on its website that These days, the Russian occupation authorities are making considerable efforts to hold their pseudo-referendums in the temporarily occupied territories at all costs. And insists that they will be transparent and legitimate. For this, it even called in foreign observers, the statement begins.
In response to this news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay and the opposition Broad Front (FA - Frente Amplio), disassociated themselves from the presence of Sebastián Hagobián, the Frente Amplio leader who caused the controversy.
The Ministry of Reintegration and all concerned agencies, including law enforcement agencies, already know their names. These are representatives of Russia itself, as well as Belarus, Syria, Egypt, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Togo, and South Africa. In essence, they are participating in a collective crime against the sovereign and the independent state of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government insisted that the referendums were absolutely illegal according to the laws of Ukraine and international legal documents.
It further calls for an investigation into the facts and the legitimacy of the entry, stay and conduct of any activities of the so-called foreign observers in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories.
We appeal to foreigners: all those who dare to indulge criminals become criminals themselves! It will not be possible to evade responsibility! the statement further highlights.
In the case of Uruguay, the Ukrainian Government was referring to Hagobián of the Broad Front, who posted on Twitter that electoral and war observation does not imply validating results, but getting first-hand information.
I am on my personal leave in Moscow on academic activity and to hold linked political dialogues against Azerbaijan's invasion against Armenia, Hagobián added.
The scandal broke out just hours after President Luis Lacalle Pou's chief bodyguard was arrested for his alleged involvement in the forgery of Russian passports.
An FA statement has been released in Montevideo indicating that given the press reports we wish to inform [the citizenry] that Sebastián Hagobián is not in Russia representing the Frente Amplio or Asamblea Uruguay. He is making a private trip and in no case does he represent or have the endorsement of this political force.