Permalink Kremlin to declare Ukraine regions 'formal integration' into Russia on Friday

Kremlin says it will formalize integration into Russia of four Ukrainian regions that have voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

Speaking on Thursday, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the process is slated to take place at Kremlin on Friday, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin is to deliver a "major" address to mark the occasion. Peskov identified the regions in question as Donetsk and Luhansk, which are located in eastern Ukraine, as well as Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south of the ex-Soviet republic.  Later on Thursday, Putin signed decrees paving the way for Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be formally incorporated into Russia territory.  The referendums were held across the foursome regions over five days earlier this month.The plebiscites harked back to a similar vote that was held in 2014, during which Ukraine's Crimea peninsula voted to join Russia.Together the five regions make up some 20 percent of Ukraine's soil.Kiev and its Western allies, though, describe the votes as "sham."


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