Announcements by four Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine that they plan to hold votes on joining the Russian Federation are "totally illegal" and show Russia's growing international isolation, Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday.
"For Italy, the referendums are totally illegal and won't be recognised," Di Maio told Adnkronos news agency.
"Russia continues to isolate itself more and more in the world," Di Maio said.
Even countries that are supposedly its international allies are urging president Vladimir Putin to call off the seven-month-old offensive in Ukraine, Di Maio noted.
"But he has no intention of stopping the war," Di Maio underlined.
Di Maio's comments came as Ukraine's Russian-occupied easternmost regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson announced 'referendums' on joining the Russian Federation.
The series of coordinated announcements may indicate that the Kremlin has decided to formally annex the four territories, it is believed.
The announcements follow a successful counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces this month that has recaptured swathes of territory in the Kharkiv region bordering Donetsk and Luhansk.