On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to formally approve the annexation of Ukraine (September 30). From Russia’s perspective, this will formalize its annexation of four regions of Ukraine. Although it does not yet have complete control over these regions, Russia has conducted so-called referendums and even claimed victory.
Earlier this year, on February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. Russian forces were forced to retreat from sizable tracts of land after making a sustained advance in the early months as Ukrainian forces launched a counterattack.
A legal step will have been taken to annex 15% of Ukraine’s territory once Putin gives his formal approval. This would also indicate Putin’s intention to intensify his initial stated objectives. Even some of Russia’s close traditional allies, like Serbia and Kazakhstan, have stated they will not recognize the annexation as a result of the plan, which has led to additional sanctions from Washington and the European Union, and even some of Russia’s traditional allies.
Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk will be represented at the signing ceremony, which will take place in one of the Kremlin’s grandest halls, along with other pro-Russian figures. According to Russia, the referendums were valid and demonstrated widespread support for the decision.
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