Council of Russian Federation ratifies annexation of four regions of Ukraine

Members of the Council of the Russian Federation, the upper house of parliament, attend a session to ratify the law to annex the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia regions of Ukraine to Russia on October 4, 2022 in Moscow. (Council of the Russian Federation/handout Reuters)

LONDON — The Russian parliament’s upper house voted on Tuesday to approve the annexation of four regions of Ukraine to Russia, as Moscow seeks to formally annex territories it expanded from Kyiv during the seven-month conflict. .

In Tuesday’s session, the Federal Council unanimously ratified a bill annexing Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, and on Monday held a similar vote in the Russian Duma.

The document is now returned to the Kremlin for final signature by President Vladimir Putin, formally annexing four territories representing about 18% of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory.

Russia declared annexation after holding what it called a referendum in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Western governments and Kyiv said the vote violated international law and was not compulsory and unrepresentative.

Despite passing the Russian Rubber Stamp Assembly, the Kremlin has yet to formally designate the boundaries of the new region, much of which is under the control of the Ukrainian military. It is still unclear where to demarcate the country’s borders.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said talks were underway over the border between Zaporizhia and Kherson regions.

Russia does not fully control any of the four regions.

Ukraine won more battlefields on Monday, taking territory dozens of kilometers behind previous fronts in the southern Kherson region, according to reports by Russian-based officials.

Meanwhile, its forces control only about 60% of the Donetsk region and 70% of Zaporizhia, but recent Ukrainian advances have also pushed the frontier into Luhansk, an area where Russian forces claimed full control in July. pushed back.