Kremlin to annex more Ukraine territories today
Published : Friday, 30 September, 2022 at 9:41 AM Count : 1184
Russia will annex four occupied regions of Ukraine at a ceremony at the Kremlin on Friday, Moscow said, after President Vladimir Putin threatened he could use nuclear weapons to defend the territories.
The Russian leader is expected to deliver a major speech at the event, following referendums held last week in which four Ukrainian regions voted in a landslide to join Russia, but which were dismissed as a sham by the West.
In a presidential decree issued Thursday evening, Putin said he had recognised the independence of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, paving the way for Moscow to claim the territories.
Russia recognised the independence of the two other regions it is preparing to annex -- Donetsk and Lugansk -- at the end of February.
"I order the recognition of the state sovereignty and independence" of the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, located in southern Ukraine, Putin said in the decrees.
Putin's nuclear threats have not deterred a sweeping Ukrainian counter-offensive, which has been pushing back Russian troops in the east and is on the doorstep of the Donetsk town of Lyman, which Moscow's forces pummelled for weeks before capturing it this summer.
Putin has blamed the conflict in Ukraine on the West and said simmering conflicts in the former Soviet Union were the result of its collapse.
The rhetoric built on his now-famous phrase that the fall of the USSR was a tragedy, and he has recently suggested Moscow should extend again its influence over the former Soviet region.