Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia’s planned annexation of four Ukrainian regions “will not mean what the Kremlin hopes for”, in an address on September 29.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a ceremony on Friday that will see Ukraine’s Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts annexed into the Russian Federation, the Kremlin has said.
It comes days after Moscow claimed that more than 90 percent of people in those regions had voted to join Russia. The votes in those four regions, none of which are completely controlled by Russian forces, has been decried by international bodies as a sham.
“Russia will not get a new territory of Ukraine. Russia will annex itself to the catastrophe that it has brought to the occupied territory of our country,” Zelensky said, according to a translated transcript.
“Russia will equate itself with the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”, and will completely finish off those institutions of normal statehood that still remained in Russia."
Ukrainian forces have continued to make gains in occupied areas of the east in recent weeks, including moving in on several key supply routes. Credit: Volodymyr Zelensky via Storyful