Putin signs laws to formally annex Ukraine regions after ‘sham’ votes

The Kremlin Wednesday announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation ratifying the accession of the Kherson region, the Zaporozhye region, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic to the Russian Federation. Under the laws, each region is a “New Constituent Entity of the Russian Federation” based on the “free and voluntary expression of will by the people.” The government of Ukraine said it is an “obvious truth” that the regions are still Ukraine.

The EU called the votes “illegal” and a “blatant violation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” In a September 21 speech to the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden called the referenda a “sham” and “an extremely significant violation of the U.N. Charter.” In a September 30 address, Putin railed against “Western elites” and “false rules” the international community has attempted to impose on Russia. On September 28, Russian media reported that the four regions voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation. The next day, Russia announced plans for military and economic support to “control and defend” the regions.