Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law formally incorporating four Ukrainian territories into Russia, despite Russia’s military struggle to control illegally annexed territories.
The final annexation document, which defied international law, was published on the Russian government website on Wednesday morning.
Earlier this week, both houses of the Russian parliament approved treaties that make the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions part of Russia. Earlier, the Kremlin held “referendums” in four regions, which Ukraine and the West considered a hoax.
On the ground, Moscow’s war in Ukraine Entered a new and more dangerous stage.Russia faces mounting setbacksas Ukrainian troops recapture more and more land in the east and south — the very areas Moscow is pushing for annexation.
The borders of Russian-claimed territory remain unclear, but the Kremlin has vowed to use any means, including nuclear weapons, to defend Russian territory — as well as newly absorbed areas.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the annexation by announcing a fast-track application to join NATO and formally ruling out talks with Russia. The decree issued by Zelensky on Tuesday declared that negotiations with Putin had become impossible after Putin decided to take over four regions of Ukraine.
Shortly after Putin signed the annexation agreement, Andriy Yermak, head of Zelensky’s office, wrote on his Telegram channel, “The worthless decisions of the terrorist state (Russia) are not worth them. signed document.
“The collective lunatic asylum can continue to live in a fictional world,” he added.
On Wednesday, Russia and Ukraine gave conflicting assessments of Ukraine’s offensive in the strategic southern region of Kherson – one of four areas Russia has annexed.
A Russian official in the Kherson region insisted that Ukrainian progress in the region had stopped.
“As of this morning … there has been no movement from the Kyiv forces,” Kirill Stremusov said in comments to the state-run news agency RIA Novosti. He vowed “they won’t enter Kherson (city), it’s impossible.”
However, the Kyiv military said on Wednesday that they had recaptured more villages in the Kherson region as part of a massive counteroffensive. The Southern Combat Command said the Ukrainian flag had been raised over seven villages formerly occupied by the Russians.
Yuri Sobolevsky, deputy head of the Kherson regional government, wrote on Telegram that military hospitals are full of wounded Russian soldiers, and Russian military doctors are short of medicines. After the Russian soldiers are in stable condition, they will be sent to Crimea for further treatment. “Not everyone arrived,” he wrote.
Regional leader Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram that multiple explosions rocked Bila Tserkva on the battlefield on Wednesday morning, starting a fire in what is known as infrastructure in the city south of the capital Kyiv.
Early indications are that the city has been attacked by so-called kamikaze or suicide drones, he said.
Bila Tserkva is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Kyiv.
Russia’s increasing use of suicide drones in recent weeks has posed a new challenge to Ukraine’s defenses. Unmanned vehicles can stay aloft for long periods of time before sneaking into a target and detonating its payload at the last minute.
Many of the earlier attacks by Iranian-made drones took place in the south of the country, not near the capital, and were not targeted for weeks.
In a later post, Kuleba said a total of six Shahed-136 drones hit the city, one of the largest in the region after Kyiv. One person was injured in the attack.
He said dozens of rescue workers were still at the scene hours after the attack, still trying to put out the blaze.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, the latest Russian shelling killed at least five civilians and wounded eight others, according to Ukraine’s presidential palace.
In the Donetsk region, Russian troops shelled eight towns and villages. According to the Donetsk governor, in Sviatohirsk, which was taken back by the Ukrainian army, a civilian cemetery was found and the bodies of four civilians were found. Pavlo Kirilenko.
Follow AP’s coverage of the Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine