All Four Ukrainian Regions Vote to Join the Russian Federation

Following the annexation referendums held in four occupied regions of Ukraine between September 23 and 27, Russia is bracing for what’s next after all four regions voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation.

According to official figures published by Russian media, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) recorded more than 99% of voters supporting the proposal and similar results were registered in Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) with over 98% of voters supporting unifying with Russia.

Kherson Region and part of Zaporizhia Region in southern Ukraine, which have also voted to join Russia in referendums, processed all ballots by late Tuesday and registered that 93% and 87% of voters, respectively, backed leaving Ukraine.

Although Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that he’s convinced the integration process for the new regions will be fast enough, it may actually take some time as it requires the approval of the Russian parliament and President Vladimir Putin.

Writing about the legal procedures to officially annex those four regions, Al Jazeera conveyed unconfirmed news that the pro-Russian leaders of DPR and LPR have already sent messages to Putin and are even going to Moscow to meet him in person, without indicating the timing of those meetings.

It is believed that their counterparts in Kherson and Zaporizhia will also follow suit and that Putin will officially declare the annexation of the regions following those meetings and after Russia’s parliament approves the move, which could take place before the end of this week.

Ukraine, meanwhile, has expressed complete defiance over the annexation referendums in the Russian-occupied regions of the country, rejecting any kind of legal legitimacy whatsoever.

In a speech to the UNSC on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that any attempt to annex Ukrainian territory will mean end of all talks with this President of Russia. Zelensky also claimed that Moscow plans to force hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in the four occupied regions in Ukraine it wants to annex to join the Russian military.