By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The overnight signing of the decrees announced by the Kremlin early Friday allowed him to formally seize the four regions, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, as well as Donetsk, and Luhansk, at a ceremony later in the day.
The decrees are similar to steps Putin took in February just before launching the invasion of Ukraine regarding Luhansk and Donetsk.
Friday’s move came after Russia held what Kyiv and the West view as “sham referendums” in the areas over the last week.
He wants to use the plebiscites to claim a mandate for the territorial claims, which he warned would fall under the nuclear arms protection of Russia.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia would be annexing itself to a “catastrophe” and vowed that Moscow would get no new territory. “We know how to react to any Russian actions,” he said.
The Russian government spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said the signing of the “treaties on the accession of territories into the Russian Federation” would take place at 3 pm local time in the Kremlin’s St George’s Hall.
Putin would deliver a “major” speech at the ceremony. It would be a repeat of a ceremony surrounding the annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.
Friday’s announcement set off international condemnation, including from the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres.
“Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned,” he said.
Earlier this year, Guterres visited Ukraine, where he witnessed some of the destruction in and around Kyiv and condemned the attacks on civilians. “The war is evil,” he said at the time as he saw the rubble in Borodyanka, northwest of the Ukrainian capital.
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