Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized the independence of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, according to presidential decrees issued late Thursday, a day before Russia finalized their annexation.
“I order to recognize state sovereignty and independence” of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, located in southern Ukraine, said in these decrees Mr. Putin, who is preparing to formalize Friday the annexation of these two regions, as well as those of Donetsk and Lugansk (east).
Russia recognized the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR), at the request of their pro-Russian separatist leaders, in late February, shortly before the start of its offensive in Ukraine.
In September, the regions of Zaporijjia, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk organized “referendums”, denounced by Kyiv and Westerners as illegitimate, by voting for their attachment to Russia.
A ceremony for the formalization of this annexation will take place on Friday afternoon in the Kremlin.