Russian President Vladimir Putin formalized the annexation of four Ukrainian regions on Wednesday, despite major upheavals on the battlefield in recent days, shrinking the amount of territory Moscow controls.
Russia has intensified its seven-month war with an annexation push, a military mobilization and warnings of a possible use of nuclear weapons to protect its entire territory.
Putin has now signed a law that formally incorporates the four regions, which represent about 18% of Ukraine’s territory, into Russia, state news agency TASS reported.
The Russian leader’s signature was the final step in the legislative process. The two chambers of the Russian parliament have already ratified the plan.
Kiev and its Western allies say Russia’s attempted annexation is an illegal land grab and will never be recognized, with Ukraine saying its army will recapture any territory occupied by Russian forces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday night that his military had made big and rapid advances against Russian forces in the past week, recapturing dozens of cities in southern and eastern regions that Russia declared annexed. .
“This week alone, since the Russian pseudo-referendum, dozens of population centers have been liberated. These are in the Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” Zelenskiy said.
Zelenskiy named eight small towns in Kherson, in the south, as having been recently recaptured. Reuters could not independently verify his statements.
Russia does not fully control any of the four regions it claims — Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south — and the Kremlin explained that it has yet to determine the final borders of the annexed territory.
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, reiterated the Ukrainian position on annexation. Referring on Telegram to what he called a “collective asylum”, he said: “Useless decisions of a terrorist country are not worth the paper they are signed on”.
Source: CNN Brasil