December 7, 2022

In a worrying development, the British Ministry of Defence warned on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would mention the annexation of the Ukrainian territories under occupation to the Russian Federation in his speech to parliament on September 30.

Referendums on joining Russia have been held in four Ukrainian regions that are under Russian occupation by officials sponsored by Moscow. These referendums have been condemned as fraudulent and illegitimate by the West and Ukraine. Voting in these referendums, which began last week on Friday, is taking place in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, four areas in the east and two in the south of Ukraine.

As Ukraine’s counteroffensive has reclaimed land that Moscow had taken since its invasion in February, the referendums occur at a moment when Russia is on the defensive. In addition, Vladimir Putin announced the decision to partially mobilize the nation’s 2 million-strong military reserves. He said that this was done “to preserve the motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The West considers the action to be an increase in force.

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