The Kremlin warned on Friday it would consider attacks against any part of the regions of Ukraine that it is about to annex as acts of aggression against Russia itself, hours before an expected speech by President Vladimir Putin.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told reporters Russia would “de jure” incorporate parts of Ukraine which are not under the control of Russian forces into Russia itself as part of its move to annex four regions of Ukraine.
Russia is moving to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine after holding referendums in the four regions.
Also on Friday, The head of Russia’s lower chamber of parliament says that Putin has notified the house about plans to admit four regions of Ukraine into Russia – a technical step towards annexation of the territories.
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, a key Putin ally, said on the body’s official Telegram channel that Russia’s leader had informed the parliament of official requests by the regions to be incorporated into the Russian Federation.
President Putin is expected to deliver a speech, described by Russian media as ‘historic’, during a formal ceremony in Moscow later on Friday to mark Russia’s annexation of the four regions.
Earlier on Thursday, Putin has declared the independence of the Ukrainian regions Zaporizhia and Kherson.
“I order the recognition of the state sovereignty and independence” of Zaporizhia and Kherson in southern Ukraine, Putin said in presidential decrees issued late on Thursday.