by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – In a move described by Western governments as a “sham,” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he will hold a ceremony Friday to announce his annexation of four Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, Axios reports. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously stated all diplomatic negotiations with Russia would be severed in the event of annexation.
Putin’s announcement follows recently staged referendums in which Kiev says Ukrainian citizens were coerced, including at gunpoint, to vote in favor of annexation, Axios reports.
Analyzing the impact of Putin’s move, Axios noted: “The expected annexation will dramatically raise the stakes in the occupied regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson as Putin could attempt to portray any attack in the areas as an attack on Russia itself.” Putin is set to give a speech on Friday, announcing these regions have been absorbed by Russia.
“Russia’s actions are transparently fraudulent and have no legal significance whatsoever. We will never recognize these illegal, and illegitimate attempts at annexation,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday. “Regardless of Russia’s claims, this remains Ukrainian territory, and Ukraine has every right to continue to fight for their full sovereignty…[The US] will work with our allies and partners to impose additional economic costs on Russia and individuals and entities inside and outside of Russia that provide support to this action,” she added.
The US will also introduce a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s “sham” referendums in the occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, Axios reports.