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Russia to formally annex four more areas of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin of Russia will host a signing ceremony on Friday to annex four more regions of Ukraine following phoney referendums that Ukraine and the West have denounced as a fraud.

Officials with Russian support had earlier claimed that the five-day exercise had almost 100% public support.

The eastern cities of Luhansk and Donetsk, as well as the southern cities of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, both staged so-called elections.

At the Kremlin, the Russian president will deliver a significant speech.

Billboards declaring the four areas to be a part of Russia have already been erected in Moscow’s Red Square, and a concert is scheduled on that evening.

The incident is reminiscent to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, which similarly happened after a skewed referendum and was announced by a Kremlin signature and a victory speech by the president in front of parliament. The vast majority of nations in the world have never acknowledged that first annexation, and they will not do so now.

The pseudo-referendums, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, were useless and did not alter the truth. “The territorial integrity of Ukraine will be restored, and we will respond very harshly if Russia accepts the outcome.”

There was no independent oversight of the Russian voting process, and armed soldiers were seen accompanying election officials as they went door to door.

A signing ceremony to incorporate the new regions into Russia will take place tomorrow at 15:00 (12:00 GMT) in the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, according to spokesman Dmitry Peskov. With the two separatist leaders supported by Russia from the east and the two Russian-appointed officials from the south, separate agreements will be signed.

The annexation accords will be formally ratified by Russia’s two houses of parliament next week, as they did with Crimea. Three days prior to his 70th birthday, on October 4, the Russian president is anticipated to address the upper house of parliament.

According to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, individuals in the seized parts of Ukraine have been forced out of their homes and places of employment under threat of violence and occasionally at gunpoint. This is the antithesis of peaceful coexistence, she added, and this is the antithesis of free and fair elections.

With only a few days’ notice, the drill started last Friday across 15% of Ukraine. The employment of armed guards was justified by Russian official media as being for security, although it was obvious that locals were also intimidated.

One woman in Enerhodar said, “You have to respond verbally and the military marks the response on the form and keeps it.”

Neha Ayub
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