Russia Thursday announced plans for a formal signing ceremony at the Kremlin to accept the results of recent referenda in the four regions to join Russia. The referenda have been called a “sham” by the US and “illegal” by the EU. Russia will also send defense forces and more than three billion rubles to the Russian-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions in Ukraine. Putin will also meet with the heads of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
The Russian Defense Ministry ordered a portion of the recently mobilized defense forces to “begin carry[ing] out tasks to control and defend the liberated territories.” In total, the ministry intends to send 300,000 defense forces to the four regions. Additionally, the First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko announced more than three billion rubles for support projects in occupied territories. The funds will be allocated from the Presidential Grants Fund, which held a special competition for projects working to develop civil society. Kiriyenko said almost 500 projects won the competition and will share the three billion rubles.
The referenda took place from September 23 through September 27. According to RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, 99.23 percent of people in Donetsk, 87.05 percent in Kherson, 98.42 percent in Luhansk and 93.11 percent in Zaporizhzhia voted to join Russia.