Russia officially considers the four occupied Ukrainian territories as Russian territory as of Friday. The Kremlin announced this on Thursday. These are Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya. Mock referendums were held in those regions last week: people could go to the polls to vote to join Russia, but the outcome was already decided.
This is because Russians still live in those areas. The Ukrainians fled the Russian invasion. The remaining residents would also have been forced to vote.
If Russia actually annexed the territory, it would control about 20 percent of Ukraine, including Crimea. President Vladimir Putin can describe any Ukrainian attack on the territory as a direct attack on Russian soil. This allows him to deploy more resources in the war.
experts afraid That “defending Russia” could be a reason for Putin to use nuclear weapons. Putin himself said earlier that he would use “every available means” to protect Russia. The president added that he does not cheat.
More information about the annexation on Friday
Putin will detail his plans during Friday’s speech. Ukraine had said earlier that the results of the sham referendums do not change the situation. Kyiv still wants to liberate the “temporarily occupied territories”. The European Union had already announced that it would not recognize the results of the mock referendums.
The leaders of the occupied territories appointed by Russia arrived in Moscow on Thursday. They will attend a ceremony on Friday to sign the agreement with Russia.
According to the official results of the mock referendum, 98 percent of voters in Luhansk voted to join. In Kherson, 87 percent voted in favour, and in Zaporizhia, more than 93 percent. In Donetsk, the proportion of supportive voters was the largest, at more than 99 percent.
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