Putin Finalizes Annexations, Defying International Law

The West has rejected referendums in Ukrainian regions as a sham
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2022 2:13 AM CDT
Updated Oct 5, 2022 2:47 AM CDT
Putin Signs Laws Annexing 4 Ukrainian Regions
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Ivanovo Region Governor Stanislav Voskresensky at Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022.   (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

This story has been updated with the latest developments. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed laws absorbing four Ukrainian regions into Russia, a move that finalizes the annexation carried out in defiance of international law, the AP reports. The documents were published on a Russian government website on Wednesday morning. Earlier this week, both houses of the Russian parliament ratified treaties making the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions part of Russia. The formalities followed Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” in the four regions that Ukraine and the West have rejected as a sham.

The move comes as Moscow's war in Ukraine has entered a new, more dangerous phase. Russia faces mounting setbacks on the battlefield, with Ukrainian forces retaking more and more land in the east and in the south—the very regions Moscow has pushed to annex. The borders of the territories Russia is claiming still remain unclear, but the Kremlin has vowed to defend Russia's territory—the newly absorbed regions, too—with any means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons. Ukrainain President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the annexation by announcing a fast-track application to join NATO and formally ruling out talks with Russia. Zelensky’s decree, released Tuesday, declares that holding negotiations with Putin has become impossible after his decision to take over the four regions of Ukraine.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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