Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign on Friday, September 30, the decree formalizing the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, occupied by his troops, as confirmed by the Kremlin in the last few hours. The order to adjudicate the territories of the neighboring country comes after the disputed referendums in those areas that the West describes as “illegal.”
Moscow is rushing to consolidate territorial claims in Ukraine that the local army is threatening to reverse on the battlefield.
The Kremlin confirmed that by means of a decree, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, will annex on Friday, September 30, the four Ukrainian regions in which five days of voting were carried out in questioned referendums, in recent days.
These are the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, in the east of the invaded country, and Kherson and Zaporizhia, in the south.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed to the Russian state news agency Tass that the ceremony to formalize the measure will take place at 3 pm local time.
Russia has vowed to go ahead with the annexation of the parts of Ukraine that its troops currently control after UN-condemned votes. https://t.co/tKTqhofZHd
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) September 29, 2022
After the signing of the document, the Russian president is scheduled to deliver an important speech together with Moscow-appointed pro-Russian separatist leaders on Ukrainian soil.
Agreements will be signed “with the four territories that held referendums and made the corresponding requests to the Russian side,” Peskov said.
The largest forced annexation of territories in Europe since World War II
The total area that Russia will de facto claim amounts to about 15% of the Ukrainian territory, a land area comparable to Hungary or Portugal and includes about 4 million people.
Putin had already annexed the southern province of Crimea in a similar way, in 2014, for which he adds around 20% of the land of the neighboring country.
Putin’s decision marks the largest forced annexation in Europe since World War II, The Economist’s defense editor Shashank Joshi noted.
Russia says the consultations were “genuine” and show public support for the move. According to the results of the electoral authorities imposed by Moscow, the union was approved by up to 96% of voters.
kyiv, the European Union and the United States, among other Western governments, claim that they were “false” votes and intimidation of the population in Ukrainian territory controlled by Russian troops.
The adjudication is pointed out by many as an “illegal seizure” of lands captured in the ongoing conflict, which is 218 days old this Thursday.
US and EU ready new sanctions; Ukraine prepares another military coup against Russia
Washington and Brussels have signaled that they are ready to impose additional sanctions on the Kremlin for its invasion actions.
Even some of Russia’s closest traditional allies, such as Serbia and Kazakhstan, say they will not recognize the annexations.
What Russia is now presenting as a “celebration” comes weeks after the Kremlin military faced the worst setbacks of the war, with defeats in the northeast, where the Ukrainian Army recaptured the entire Kharkiv province and found a mass grave with around 450 graves. A finding that kyiv denounces as crimes against humanity.
Some military experts say that Ukrainian forces are about to deliver another major blow and defeat for the invading army, gradually encircling the city of Lyman, the main remaining Russian stronghold in the northern part of Donetsk province.
His fall could open the way for Ukrainian forces to launch attacks on swaths of territory that Russia now seeks to annex.
After the award, Moscow will be able to justify that it defends territories that belong to it. Thus, a recrudescence of the first conflict in Europe since the Balkan war is glimpsed.
With Reuters, AP and local media
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