Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign the treaties on Friday on Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories controlled by its armed forces, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday, quoted by Reuters.
“The signing ceremony will take place tomorrow (Friday – n.r.),” Peskov announced in his daily telephone press conference.
The leaders installed by Russia in the regions of Donbas, Kherson and Zaporozhye have officially asked Vladimir Putin to annex the territories occupied by Moscow.
The occupation authorities installed by the Russians in the territories they control in these regions of Ukraine announced in a coordinated manner on September 20 that they would hold referendums on union with Moscow, after months of speculation.
From Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “Ukraine cannot and will not tolerate any attempt by Russia to seize any part of our land.”
From the moment they were announced, the organization of these referendums was strongly condemned by the United States and several European heads of state.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that “these fictitious referendums” are “unacceptable” and that “it is very clear that these mock referendums are not covered by international law”.
“It’s all just an attempt at imperialist aggression that they want to dress up like that,” he added in a speech during the UN General Assembly. French President Emmanuel Macron described as a “parody” the announcement regarding the organization of referendums in the four Ukrainian territories, stating that they will have “no legal consequences” and will not be recognized by the international community. “If the idea of a referendum in Donbas were not so tragic, it would be funny,” Macron said.
US President Joe Biden instead promised a “swift and severe” response to a new annexation by Russia of some Ukrainian territories after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, also following the organization of a so-called referendum after Moscow’s armed forces they occupied the peninsula. “The referendums are a sham, a false pretext to try to forcibly annex parts of Ukraine,” the US president said on September 24.
Romania also announced that it not recognize the so-called referendums organized by pro-Russian separatists, which it considers illegal and illegitimate.
Further sanctions in the pipeline
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Wednesday evening that the executive in Brussels has developed a new package of sanctions against Russia as a result of the organization of these referendums. This eighth package of sanctions against Russia proposed by the European Union includes additional bans on imports of Russian products, which would deprive Moscow of revenues of around 7 billion euros.
The European Commission also wants to extend export bans on key technologies used in the military, such as aviation items, electronic components and certain chemicals. That will “weaken Russia’s ability to modernize” militarily, von der Leyen said.
The sanctions package would also establish the legal basis for a ceiling on the price of Russian oil and would also prohibit the presence of EU citizens in the management of Russian state companies. But like all previous sanctions packages, this one will have to be approved unanimously by EU member states and Hungary has repeatedly expressed its opposition to any new measures against Russia.