Russia Annexes Four Ukraine Regions; United States Say They Don’t Recognize Acquisitions

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/04/2023

Four formerly Ukrainian territories will now be a part of the Russian Federation according to agreements made by President Vladimir Putin. The official process of their accession began on Friday with the ceremony.

Along with Putin, the agreements were signed by the presidents of Kherson and Zaporozhye, Vladimir Saldo and Evgeny Balitsky, as well as the rulers of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik.

The decision was made in response to formal bids for membership in Russia made by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the two southern Ukrainian regions that had proclaimed independence. The idea was overwhelmingly supported in all four regions where referendums on it were held between September 23 and 27, according to results made public this week by local election bodies.

99.23% of voters in Donetsk chose to reconnect with Moscow, while 98.42% of voters in Lugansk chose the same option. Approximately 93% of voters in Zaporozhye Region favored breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia. The Kherson Region also received an approval rating of 87%.

The Russian Constitutional Court will now review the accords to make sure they do not conflict with Russian legislation. The agreements must then be approved by the Federal Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, after being cleared by the State Duma, the lower house.

Legislation merging the two republics and two regions into Russia must also be approved by the parliament. As soon as Putin signs the bill, the Donbass republics, Kherson, and Zaporozhye will all be incorporated into Russia.

Speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin announced on Thursday that the lower chamber of the Russian parliament will meet on October 3 to debate a range of topics, including the probable ratification of the treaties. The Federal Council’s president, Valentina Matviyenko, said on Wednesday that the body may possibly talk about the ratification on October 4 during its regularly scheduled meeting. At the time, she told reporters, “I do not see the necessity for exceptional sessions.”

The Donetsk and Lugansk areas were supposed to get special status inside the Ukrainian state under the Minsk agreements, but Kiev failed to carry them out, according to the Kremlin, which recognized the Donbass republics as independent nations in February 2022. The protocols were first signed in 2014 and were mediated by Germany and France.

Russia launched soldiers into Ukraine on February 24 on the pretext that Donbass needed to be protected. Additionally, it required Ukraine to proclaim itself as a neutral nation that will never ally with any Western military alliance. Kiev maintains that there was no cause for the Russian attack.

Soon after the fighting began, Russian soldiers took the majority of the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. Since then, officials have discussed joining Russia several times before finally conducting referendums in September.

The annexation of four Ukrainian areas by Russia prompted Kiev to “accelerate” its application to join the NATO military alliance, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday.

It was not immediately obvious how Kyiv had advanced its application, but Zelenskyy claimed Ukraine had already shown itself to be a “compatible” NATO partner while pledging to continue battling Russia despite its unlawful invasion of Crimea.

“De facto, we’ve already demonstrated that we’re in compliance with alliance requirements. For Ukraine, they are actual in the battlefield and in all of our interactions “said he. “We rely on one another, support one another, and watch out for one another. The partnership is as stated.”

Zelenskyy’s remarks came after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Moscow had obtained resounding backing for its illegitimate annexation during a speech and signing ceremony.

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