Home / News / World /  Russia plans to annex four Ukrainian territories: What does it mean?

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday will sign accession documents formalizing Russia’s annexation of four occupied regions in Ukraine. Moscow plans annexation of eastern and southern provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

“I order the recognition of the state sovereignty and independence of the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, located in southern Ukraine," Putin was quoted.

The Russian government spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said the signing of “treaties on the accession of territories into the Russian Federation" would take place at 3pm local time in the Kremlin’s St George’s Hall. Putin would deliver a “major" speech at the ceremony.

The plan to sign treaties on Friday annexing the territories in occupied Ukraine will mark a major escalation of Russia’s seven-month-old war between Ukraine and Russia. Russian officials and Kremlin proxy leaders, said that the results showed that more than 95 percent of voters want to become part of Russia.

Moscow's planned annexation of eastern and southern provinces after what Ukraine and Western countries said were sham votes staged at gunpoint in occupied areas.

The world leaders have strongly objected to this move.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said the planned annexations were a "dangerous escalation" and jeopardise prospects for peace.

Joe Biden said that the US would never recognise Russia’s claims on Ukraine’s territory, and denounced the fake referendums as an “absolute sham," saying, “The results were manufactured in Moscow."

"Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters.

What would this mean:

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has promised a strong response to the annexations and summoned his defence and security chiefs for an emergency meeting on Friday. Ukraine has called on the West to hit Russia with more sanctions and to supply Ukrainian forces with more weapons to keep reclaiming territory.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Thursday Russia would “annex itself to the catastrophe that it has brought to the occupied territory of our country."

However, Putin has said he is ready to defend those territories using all means available.

Thousands of Russian men have fled in the week since President Vladimir Putin announced a mobilization to bolster struggling Russian forces in Ukraine. Although Putin said the callup was “partial," aimed at calling up about 300,000 men with past military service, many fear it will be much broader and more arbitrary.

Ukraine and allies

Ukraine and Western countries have not recognized the annexation, and they do not intend to recognize any absorption of other illegally annexed regions into Russia.

The European Union unveiled a new round of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday in response to the referendums. The package includes “sweeping new import bans on Russian products" that will cost Russia 7 billion euros ($6.8 billion) in revenue, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Canada will also sanction individuals and entities “complicit" in annexation attempts, PM Justin Trudeau said.

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