Russia will announce the illegal annexation of occupied territories on Sept. 30

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, announced that Russia’s dictator Putin will formally sign the documents necessary to proceed with the annexation of the territories of the separatist “people’s republic” of Luhansk and Donetsk and the areas Russia has managed to hold on to following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“Tomorrow [September 30], a ceremony to sign the agreements on the accession of new territories into the Russian Federation will take place in the Grand Kremlin Palace, in St. George's Hall, at 3 pm Moscow time [12 pm GMT],” Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced on Thursday. “There will be a major speech by President Putin at the ceremony. It's important to note: this is not a presidential address to the Federal Assembly. Let there be no confusion. That is a different format and one that will take place later. We will let you know,” clarified Peskov.

The area that is to be annexed makes up 15 percent of Ukraine’s internationally recognised territory. As Peskov stated, the annexation agreements “with all four territories that held referendums and made corresponding requests to the Russian side.”

The votes, conducted during wartime on occupied territory and under coercion in the form of “voting commissions” going door-to-door accompanied by armed men, fool no one. But their purpose is not to receive recognition but to allow the Kremlin propaganda directed at the Russian people to give them a long-awaited success. Russians deserve a little bit of joy after the grim seven months of the “three-day special military operation to denazify Ukraine”. It will serve as a silver lining to the recently announced mobilisation and the fact that now draftees doing their compulsory military service, otherwise exempted from being sent to fight outside of the country, could now be sent to defend what the Kremlin claims as Russian territory.

The head of the upper house of the Russian parliament has said the chamber could consider the incorporation of the four regions on October 4, three days before Putin's 70th birthday. A nice birthday gift indeed it would seem. Something to make up for the disastrous situation on the frontline, where the Ukrainian counter-offensive now appears to encircle the Russian forces occupying the key city of Lyman, and possibly retaking the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in the Luhansk Region, claimed by the separatist so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” as part of its territory.

Moscow braces for a grand celebration

The Red Square in Moscow is already being set up for a grand celebration of Russia’s most recent display of contempt for the norms of the civilised part of the world. A tribune with giant video screens has already been set up, with billboards proclaiming “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson - Russia!”

There will be a big concert and Russian dictator Putin is to deliver a speech on the subject, said Peskov. The Kremlin's spokesman did not clarify whether Putin will make a personal appearance like he did in 2014 when Russia announced the annexation of Crimea, or will the assembled crowds be treated to a speech delivered from some bunker in the Ural mountains or a prerecorded message.

It is not even certain whether there will be any crowds, assembled spontaneously or made up of bussed-in governmental clerks and factory workers, or will it be only pigeons that witness the glory of Russia. For now, Red Square has been closed to visitors.

International reactions

Serbia does not recognise referendums in occupied territories of Ukraine: MFA

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovich noted that these “referenda” are contrary to the UN Charter and the generally recognised principles and...

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Washington and the European Union are set to impose additional sanctions on Russia over the annexation plan. Even some of Russia's close traditional allies, such as Serbia and Kazakhstan, say they will not recognise the annexation resulting from the “referenda”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who time and time again said that regardless of how Russia tries to spin it, Ukraine will continue its efforts to liberate its occupied territories from the aggressors, summoned his security and defence chiefs for an emergency meeting to be held on Friday. Zelenskyy also promised a robust response to a step he says has killed off any chances of reviving peace negotiations.

The votes “are worthless and do not change reality. The territorial integrity of Ukraine will be restored. And our reaction to the recognition of the results by Russia will be very harsh,” said President Zelenskyy.