On Thursday, Russia said it would formally annex some regions of Ukraine.
These regions had just staged “referendums” on Moscow’s control that the Ukrainian government and the West deemed fraudulent and unlawful.
Friday’s Kremlin event to formally annex four areas of Ukraine will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Peskov stated that during the ceremony at the Kremlin’s St. George’s Hall, the pro-Moscow regional leaders would sign agreements to join Russia.
Following the voting that ended on Tuesday in the Ukrainian regions where Russia has occupation, and after Moscow stated citizens overwhelmingly backed their districts’ formal annexation to Russia, the annexation was widely anticipated.
The voting has been roundly denounced as “sham” elections by the United States and its Western allies, who have sworn never to accept their results.
On Thursday, Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, joined other Western officials in condemning the referendums.
She stated at a conference in Berlin that “people are being pulled out of their homes or places of employment to vote in glass ballot boxes under threats and sometimes even (at) gunpoint.”
The reverse of free and fair elections, according to Baerbock.
This is the complete opposite of peace. It has ordered peace. No civilian is safe as long as this Russian diktat is in the Ukrainian territory under occupation. No one has freedom.
In the five days of voting, armed troops had gone door to house with election officials to collect votes.
After humiliating military defeats in Ukraine, the vast percentages in favor were interpreted as a land grab by a Russian leadership beginning to feel increasingly surrounded.
The four areas of southern and eastern Ukraine with Moscow-installed governments asserted Tuesday night that annexation was supported by 93% of votes cast in Zaporizhzhia, 87% in Kherson, 98% in Luhansk, and 99% in Donetsk.
The United States has backed Ukraine’s claim that the referendums are invalid and that it has every right to recapture the areas.