Russia annexes 4 regions in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin presided over a ceremony to formally annex four Ukrainian regions.

Key facts

  • Eight years following the Russian annexation of Crimea, Moscow has captured four more Ukrainian territories – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
  • Earlier, Russia organized a referendum on Russia’s administration of these regions.
  • Kremlin claimed that residents of these regions overwhelmingly supported their regions formally becoming part of Russia.
  • These referendums are considered by the West as illegal and rigged and were orchestrated by the Russian Government.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed “accession treaties” to formalize these annexations at a ceremony in Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow in the presence of Russia’s political elites.
  • With the formal annexation of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia controls nearly 15 per cent of Ukrainian territory.
  • Russia does not fully control these regions since Ukrainian forces have reclaimed several areas that were earlier captured by Russia.
  • In terms of total area, Russia will control over 90,000 square kilometers of Ukraine’s total land area. This is almost equivalent to the size of countries like Portugal or Jordan.
  • It is equivalent to Austria and Belgium combined or Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands combined or 30 per cent of Germany’s territory.
  • It is also 50 per cent of the size of the United Kingdom.
  • If Crimea, a Ukrainian territory annexed in 2014, is also included, Moscow has control over 107,000 sq km of Ukraine’s territory.
  • This makes it the largest forced annexation in Europe since the Second World War.
  • The four recently annexed Ukrainian regions have historic ties with Russia, with Luhansk and Donetsk having large proportion of population speaking Russian and ethnically Russian.
  • These regions opposed Ukraine increasing its ties with the West.
  • Now, Ukraine is planning to fight to reclaim its lost territories and fast-track its membership to NATO
  • The Western countries have announced that they will never recognize the Russian claims over these territories.

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