Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has unanimously ratified on Monday the accession treaties of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhizhia Regions, Russian media report.
The documents regarding the four former Ukrainian territories’ reunification with Russia – which the West considers the largest forcible annexation of land in Europe since 1945- were submitted on Sunday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Stressing that Kyiv had long oppressed Russian-speaking people, making the existence of certain territories within the Ukrainian state impossible, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out that accession will serve the interests of all people of multiethnic Russia.
As per State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, accession to Russia is the only way to save the people living in the four Ukrainian regions which have voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia in recent referendums.
After Putin signed the accession treaties on Friday, they were later approved by the Russian Constitutional Court and its next step is ratification by the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament.
Meanwhile, Kyiv’s troops retook more territory in the eastern Donetsk region on Sunday following the liberation of the key city of Lyman, and were striking Russian targets in its efforts to also retake neighboring Luhansk.
According to Serhii Khlan, adviser to the head of Ukraine’s Kherson region military administration, and pro-Russian military blogger, Kyiv forces have made additional gains in the south of Ukraine, capturing the town of Zolota Balka on the western bank of the Dnipro River and pushing towards the city of Kherson.
At the same time, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky announced that, after liberating the small settlement in the Kherson region, Kyiv’s forces have liberated Myrolyubivka and Arkhanhelske, showing a video of Ukrainian soldiers raising the national flag in Myrolyubivka.