LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Russia’s upper house of parliament voted on Tuesday to approve the incorporation of four Ukrainian regions into Russia, as Moscow moves to formally annex territory it demarcated from Kyiv during its seven-month conflict.
At a session on Tuesday, the Federation Council unanimously ratified legislation to annex Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, following a similar vote in the State Duma, Russia’s lower house yesterday.
The documents are now being sent back to the Kremlin for President Vladimir Putin’s final signature to formally annex the four regions, representing about 18% of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory.
Russia declared the annexations after holding what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. Western and Kyiv governments said the votes violated international law and were coercive and unrepresentative.
Although it has gone through the Russian parliament, the Kremlin has yet to officially designate the borders of the new regions, much of which is under the control of Ukrainian forces. As such, it remains unclear where Russia will delineate its own international borders once annexation is complete.
On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said consultations were underway regarding the borders of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
Russia does not exercise full control over any of the four regions.
Ukraine made more battlefield gains on Monday, taking territory tens of kilometers (miles) behind previous front lines in the southern Kherson region, according to reports from Russian-installed officials.
Meanwhile, his forces only control around 60% of the Donetsk region and 70% of Zaporizhzhia, while recent Ukrainian advances have also pushed back the front lines in Luhansk, an area that Russian forces have claimed control of. altogether in July.
Reuters reporting; edited by Guy Faulconbridge
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