By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The top diplomats from the US and Canada vowed on Friday to never recognize the results of Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US "does not and will never recognize any of the Kremlin's claims to sovereignty over parts of Ukraine that it seized by force and now purports to incorporate into Russia."
"This territory is and will remain Ukrainian. And Ukraine has every right to defend its land, to defend its people and to take back the territory that Russia has seized from it," he told reporters while speaking alongside his Canadian counterpart, Melanie Joly.
Blinken maintained that Washington and Ottawa "see eye-to-eye on this."
Also speaking at the State Department, Joly said "the pre-orchestrated outcomes of these referenda have no legitimacy, and will never be recognized."
"Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia will remain Ukrainian territory," she said.
Putin earlier on Friday announced the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions in violation of international law following highly disputed referendums that have been denounced by the West and its allies as a cynical land grab.
The territories amount to more than 90,000 square kilometers (34,749 square miles) or nearly 15% of Ukraine’s total area.