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Russian President Putin to declare annexation of four Ukrainian lands in major escalation of war

Russian President Putin to declare annexation of four Ukrainian lands in major escalation of war

Russian President Putin to declare annexation of four Ukrainian lands in major escalation of war
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By Anand Singha  Sept 30, 2022 4:25:25 PM IST (Updated)

Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said the ceremony will take place on Friday at 3 PM Moscow time (5:30 PM IST) at the Grand Kremlin Palace's St George's Hall "to sign agreements on the accession of new territories into the Russian Federation." A celebratory concert in Red Square is also scheduled for Friday evening.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will declare the annexation of four Ukrainian areas on Friday in a ceremony blasted by Ukraine as a "Kremlin freak show," intensifying his seven-month war and launching it into an unexpected new phase.

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Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said the ceremony will take place on Friday at 3 PM Moscow time (5:30 PM IST) at the Grand Kremlin Palace's St George's Hall "to sign agreements on the accession of new territories into the Russian Federation." A celebratory concert in Red Square is also scheduled for Friday evening.
This comes three days after hastily staged referendums in which Moscow's proxies in the seized territories declared majorities of up to 99 percent in favour of joining Russia. According to the Kremlin, people voluntarily chose to return to their "historic motherland."
Ukraine and Western nations denounced the ballots as fraudulent, illegal, and carried out under duress. "The Kremlin’s sham referenda are a futile effort to mask what amounts to a further attempt at a land grab in Ukraine," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.
Despite the triumphant backdrop, Putin's takeover of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions comes at a critical juncture.
Ukraine seized this initiative after months of tedious, attritional combat by routing Russian soldiers in the northeastern Kharkiv area. Putin authorised an unpopular partial mobilisation last week, causing thousands of men of fighting age to abandon the country.
Even close Kremlin allies have condemned the chaotic nature of the call-up, with Putin himself stating on Thursday that "all mistakes must be corrected."
Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukrainian presidential adviser, warned on Thursday that the Kremlin event was a "freak show" and legally futile. "Non-existent entities cannot enter a country which is disintegrating," he tweeted.
If Moscow proceeded, it would have "no legal value and deserves to be condemned," according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The Kremlin has not yet announced if Putin would attend a celebration concert on the square on Friday evening. He will address parliament separately at a later date, opening the door for it to finalise the annexation process on or before Oct. 7, his 70th birthday.
(With inputs from agency)
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