Kremlin reveals next step for former Ukrainian regions
The Kremlin has revealed when Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign treaties on the inclusion of the two Donbass republics, as well as the self-proclaimed states in Kherson and Zaporozhye, into the Russian Federation. The move follows referendums held in the respective territories.
The ceremonial signing will take place in the St. George Hall inside the Kremlin Palace on Friday at 3pm Moscow time, after which Putin will deliver a “voluminous speech,” according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. The Russian president will also personally meet with the heads of the new territories.
The announcement comes after the two republics and two self-proclaimed states made official requests to join the Russian Federation after having held public referendums on the issue between September 23 and 27. The move was overwhelmingly supported by the local population, according to official results announced late on Tuesday.
Peskov separately noted that Putin’s speech on Friday will not be a formal address to the Federal Assembly – the country’s parliament – stating that such a speech will be held in a completely different format and is yet to be announced.
As explained by Senator Konstantin Kosachev, the vice speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament, signing the treaties is only one of the key steps necessary to officially incorporate the new territories into the Russian Federation.
After Putin signs the treaties, they must be submitted to the country’s Constitutional Court to ensure they comply with Russian law. Once they are cleared, the documents have to be ratified by the lower house, the State Duma, and the upper house of parliament, the Federal Council. Only after that will the DPR, LPR, and the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye officially become integrated into the Russian Federation.
The next session of the Federal Council is planned for October 4, according to chairman Valentina Matvienko, who said that if “everything is confirmed” the body will take the treaties on accepting the new territories up for consideration.
The EU and the US have repeatedly refused to accept the results of the referendums, calling them a “sham.” Western leaders have also vowed to never recognize “any kind of annexation in Ukraine.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed she was “determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation,” while US State Secretary Antony Blinken stated that Kiev had “every right” to take back the territories that are trying to secede from its rule.