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Russia Plans Annexation of Ukrainian Regions, Hints at Move to War Footing

Economy Sep 20, 2022 08:09AM ET
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By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com -- Two Russian-backed regions in eastern Ukraine announced on Tuesday they will hold referenda on joining the Russian Federation this weekend, amid signs in Moscow that Russia is preparing to move to annex the areas of Ukraine its forces currently hold.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to address the nation later Tuesday, the news agency RBC reported, after the self-appointed governments of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics and two more regions of Ukraine currently under Russian military occupation said they would hold referenda between September 23rd and 27th on joining the Russian Federation.

Tuesday's actions appear to herald a new escalation of the conflict in Ukraine that has roiled world markets since February. The referenda, if carried out, are certain to be condemned by Ukraine and by its western backers as illegitimate but may serve as a pretext for Russia to claim that Ukraine had carried the war onto its own territory, and escalate its actions accordingly.

The developments come on the same day that Russia's parliament, or Duma, implemented a number of ominous changes to the Russian criminal code, inserting new provisions for desertion and unauthorized surrender during times of "mobilization or other hostilities."

Former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is now a joint chair of the National Security Council, said in a Telegram post that annexation would represent "the restoration of historical justice" and warned that Russia - the world's second largest nuclear power after the U.S. - would use "all its powers of self-defense" against anyone "encroaching" on its territory.

"Since Feb 24 [the day of Russia's invasion] we've treated people like former President Medvedev like random noise-generating clowns. But I would pay attention today," said Andrew Weiss, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.

Putin's government has come under increasing pressure from hardliners in the last few weeks for what has been an unsuccessful attempt to secure military victory without mobilizing the whole of Russian society and its economy. He has also appeared under pressure from important foreign trade partners such as China and India, whose "concerns" he was forced to acknowledge publicly at a meeting of leaders in central Asia last week.

That meeting came only days after the course of Russia's war in Ukraine appeared to shift dramatically in Ukraine's favor: a successful counterattack by Kyiv's forces recaptured thousands of square miles of territory around the eastern city of Kharkiv, threatening the supply lines of Russia's troops in Donetsk, Luhansk and further to the west and south.

Russia's benchmark stock index lost as much as 10% in morning trading in Moscow before paring its losses. However, the ruble was stable at just below 60 to the dollar. The ruble market has been dominated by the central bank since February when it intervened heavily to stop undesired volatility.

Russia Plans Annexation of Ukrainian Regions, Hints at Move to War Footing
 

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Comments (18)
Christopher Vu
Conservative Sep 21, 2022 4:26AM ET
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Will the West dare take on Russia if they use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, or they just let Russia act with impunity for fear of engaging in a nuclear war with crazy Putin?
ia ai
ia ai Sep 21, 2022 4:26AM ET
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Likely scenario will be the Pentagon taking out Russia`s Black Sea fleet (only source of possible nukes, if they manage to actually launch them), and destroy all Russian assets in Ukraine, plus a no-fly zone in the Ukraine and Black Sea.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 21, 2022 4:26AM ET
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There is 100 % probability that Nato would enter the war on ukraine side and putin must then fight the biggest army in the world
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 20, 2022 6:51PM ET
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NATO combined have more nuclear warheads than russia…..russia is 1 country NATO are 30 countries. NATO has by far the biggest army in the world so if russia wants to destroy the western world get ready to get 6.000 nuclear warheads in the head….
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 20, 2022 6:51PM ET
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Maybe you should take a break. Maybe go for a nice walk.
Dimitrj Kashtan
Dimitrj Kashtan Sep 20, 2022 5:32PM ET
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"Russia - the world's second largest nuclear power after the U.S."                                                        Really? Second? As per Federation of American Scientists nuclear warhead stockpile of Russia 5,977 and the U.S. 5,428                                                                                                                                         Status of World Nuclear Forces – Federation Of American Scientists (fas.org)
DW Chadz
Calgarychadz Sep 20, 2022 3:34PM ET
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Now that’s democracy! ******the opposition before the vote!
Peter Galik
Peter Galik Sep 20, 2022 1:12PM ET
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Ukrainians need to launch major offensive to reclaim territiries before referenda.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 20, 2022 1:12PM ET
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Why? A fake referendum changes nothing. Its like saying you made a referendum where you ask yourself should I own russia or parts of russia, and you votes yes. It has no legal value on the international stage and will not be acceptet. This is a panic strategy from russian elite loosing power….
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 20, 2022 12:57PM ET
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Nope lars the international accept of your country borderes is everything not what russia thinks
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 20, 2022 11:39AM ET
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If russia gets away with this the future will be law of the jungle the biggest ape will decide who gets to eat
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Sep 20, 2022 11:33AM ET
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an annexation of areas (partially) under russian control is meaningless and irrelevant as neither the UN nor the vast majority of the worlds nations will recognise it
ruperto saco
ruperto saco Sep 20, 2022 11:31AM ET
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Unless occidental forces act before the referendum is made. Recover Donetsk and Luhansk and give them back to Ukraine. This could end in nuclear war because those annexed territories as Crimea will be considered Russian and any attack will be answered with nuclear weapons and also China might be ask to take part to defend Russia too.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Sep 20, 2022 11:31AM ET
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nonsense
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 20, 2022 11:31AM ET
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Crimea is not part of russia it belongs to ukraine. Any fake referendum is invalid if the world accept this we might as well give all small countries land to a bigger country who can invade and declare a fake referendum it would be the law of the jungle tjat decides our future not human beings
ia ai
ia ai Sep 20, 2022 11:31AM ET
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Ukraine already has destroyed the Saky airfield in Crimea, with long range missiles, and there was no reaction from the Kremlin. So further brinkmanship is their strategy it seems.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Sep 20, 2022 11:22AM ET
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Wonder why putin dont just stop the military operation and say that russia have now eliminated the nazis and go back to russia. Everybody would believe him anyway why go for destruction of russia to keep his power
 
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