Russia says Putin will sign ‘treaties’ to annex Ukrainian regions

Date:

Russian President Vladimir Putin will formally take over four Ukrainian regions on Friday by signing documents the Kremlin calls “accession treaties.”

The signing ceremony, which will take place at the Grand Kremlin Palace, marks Putin’s attempt to annex the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, although Russia does not have full control over them militarily or politically.


Four regions

where staged

referendum

on joining Russia

were maintained

Area held

by Russia-

supported

separatists

since 2014

Annexed by Russia

in 2014

Control areas from September 28th

Sources: Institute for the Study of War, AEI’s Critical Threats Project

Ukrainian Reclaimed Territory

through counter-offensive

Four regions

where staged

referendums on

join Russia

were maintained

Territory owned by

Russia supported

separatists

since 2014

Annexed by Russia

in 2014

Control areas from September 28th

Sources: Institute for the Study of War, AEI’s Critical Threats Project

Ukrainian Reclaimed Territory

through counter-offensive

Four regions

where staged

referendum

were detained

join Russia

Territory owned by

Russia supported

separatists

since 2014

Annexed by Russia

in 2014

Sources: Institute for the Study of War

The move, despite stern international warnings, including from President Biden, may close the door to diplomacy for years to come, and almost certainly ensure a further escalation of the war in Ukraine, with Kiev insisting it will fight for all its assets. reclaim land and Western allies pledge to send more weapons and economic aid.

Putin’s recent statement of a partial military mobilization to activate hundreds of thousands of reinforcements for deployment to Ukraine and the sabotage this week of two Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic have raised fears that the Russian leader is gearing up for a long hybrid conflict with NATO.

Russian officials have also warned it could use a nuclear weapon to defend Ukraine’s regions once incorporated into Russia, as an attack on Russian forces there would be seen as an attack on Russia’s own territory. Likewise, Putin could call out such attacks to declare martial law, putting the Russian economy and society completely on warpaths.

Putin’s land grab, a flagrant violation of international law, will further isolate Russia and lead to new Western sanctions. But Putin nevertheless seems to hope that a long, brutal war will eventually weaken Western support for Ukraine and curtail the military and economic aid that is vital to Kiev.

The Russian men who flee the mobilization and leave everything behind

One of the few viable diplomatic channels left is the one between Russia and Turkey, but even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who aided in a recent prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, has disapproved of Putin’s recent moves. .

After Russia orchestrated the referendums with unlikely results and claimed overwhelming support for annexation, Erdogan said the votes brought “trouble” and regretted that the conflict was not resolved through diplomacy.

Erdogan was set to speak with Putin at the end of Thursday, probably too late to influence him to change course if that were ever possible. “These types of ventures put a strain on diplomacy efforts and deepen instability,” Erdogan said, referring to the staged referendums and military mobilization.

Russia’s proxy leaders from the partially occupied regions traveled to Moscow on Wednesday ahead of the signing of the so-called accession treaties.

And the Russian parliament, which meets Monday and Tuesday, is sure to approve the treaties and then pass constitutional amendments to formalize the annexation, in a process similar to that of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Adding a touch of patriotic theater to Friday’s proceedings, the Kremlin announced that a gala concert would be held in Red Square on Friday after the signing of the so-called treaties.

The concert mimics a similar event in 2014, where Putin took the stage after Russia took Crimea, as part of an effort to stir public euphoria over reclaiming the peninsula, which a majority of Russians considered to be historically of them.

The annexation of Crimea, a popular Russian holiday destination, propelled Putin’s approval to an all-time high of 89 percent in 2015. But public sentiment for the four new regions is unlikely to be that strong.

Multiple Russian setbacks in the war have exposed the poor state of the Russian military and made Putin more vulnerable than at any time during his tenure. He has been criticized from the right by pro-war hawks outraged at the military missteps and failed mobilization, and from the left by opponents of the war.

More than 200,000 Russians have fled the country in recent days to escape partial mobilization.

A wave of newly mobilized Russian soldiers already arriving in Ukraine with relatively little preparation, military experts say, probably won’t be enough for Moscow to launch offensives in the coming weeks to gain full control over the regions it annexes. territory through the winter.

According to the results of the polls released Thursday by the Levada Center, an independent pollster, Putin’s approval rating has fallen in the wake of his mobilization announcement, although given Russia’s authoritarian system, it remains at a level where any Western politician would be jealous of.

According to the new Levada poll, Putin’s rating fell to 77 percent from 83 percent a month earlier, while his disapproval rose from 15 percent to 21 percent.

Putin’s ratings fell to their lowest point – 59 percent – in April 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. But the new results nonetheless highlighted the unpredictable consequences of the war for Putin as he faces a prolonged bleak period of tougher Western sanctions, protracted economic decline and likely increasing military casualties in Ukraine.

The annexation marks arguably the darkest moment in Russia-West relations since the Cold War, as NATO warned Thursday that the damage to the two Nord Stream pipelines was the result of “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage.”

Phased referendums yield expected results as Russia prepares annexations

“We, as Allies, are committed to preparing for, deterring and defending against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors,” NATO said in a statement. “Any deliberate attack on the Allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stepped up Russian accusations over the sabotage on Thursday, saying the damage occurred in Danish and Swedish waters, countries she said were “full” with US weapons and ” under the control of the CIA.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday the attack appeared to be “deliberate”.

“It is very difficult to imagine that such a terrorist act could take place without the involvement of a state,” Peskov said.

Russian state-controlled media chanted analysts and experts who said the attack could only have been carried out by the United States or Britain. Western analysts, meanwhile, said the sabotage was more likely perpetrated by Russia.

Laurance Freedman, professor emeritus of war studies at King’s College London, said it’s “hard to imagine who else it could be”, adding that it could be “a general, darker warning about the fragility of all underwater pipes and cables if Russia want to cause more disruption.”

The destruction of the pipe could also be the Kremlin’s message to Europe that they would never again benefit from relatively cheap Russian natural gas, or possibly a signal to the Scandinavian countries that they would always be vulnerable to Russia, Freedman wrote in an email. -mail newsletter Wednesday.

The European Commission on Wednesday recommended an eighth package of sanctions against Russia, including a cap on the oil price, a ban on European nationals from serving on the boards of Russian state-owned companies and new bans on the export of high-tech goods to Russia.

But the package still requires unanimous approval from all 27 EU countries, and Gergely Gulyas, chief of staff to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, questioned the key measures when he said on Thursday Hungary would block new energy sanctions.

The full consequences of Putin’s annexation declaration are difficult to predict. A

Russia will probably declare the Sea of ​​Azov an internal Russian sea. And Moscow could deploy special police forces to suppress partisan activity in the occupied territories. In some occupied territories, Kremlin proxies have already phased out Ukrainian currency and passports, effectively forcing citizens to accept Russian passports in exchange for social benefits.

War in Ukraine: what you need to know

The last: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in a speech to the nation on Sept. 21, interpreting the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that wants to use Ukraine as a tool to ” divide and destroy Russia”. .” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counter-offensive in recent days has forced a major Russian withdrawal in the northeastern region of Kharkov, as troops fled the towns and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war, leaving behind large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Organized referenda, allegedly illegal under international law, will take place from September 23 to 27 in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. From Friday, another phased referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed government in Kherson.

Photos: Photographers for the Washington Post have been on the scene since the beginning of the war – here is some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways people in the US can help support the Ukrainian people, as well as what people around the world have donated.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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