Putin introduces bills on accession of new Russian regions to Parliament
President Vladimir Putin forwarded, on Sunday, treaties on the accession to Russia of four formerly Ukrainian regions to the State Duma for ratification. Voters in Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, overwhelmingly chose to join Russia in referendums, last week.
Earlier in the day, the four documents were approved by the Russian Constitutional Court. They must now be passed by both chambers of the Russian parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the treaties on Monday.
Putin has also provided Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his deputy Evgeny Ivanov with special powers for the period of accession of the new territories. The two officials have been designated special presidential envoys to the country’s parliament for this period, according to a new presidential decree.
The LPR and DPR declared independence from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 Maidan coup in Kiev and the civil war in the country’s east that followed it. Kherson Region and most of Zaporozhye have been under the control of the Russian military since March.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.