It's official - Four Ukrainian regions have voted to join Russia
The accession process of Donbass and two regions of southern Ukraine to
Russia will include several steps
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) along with
Kherson Region and part of Zaporozhye Region in southern Ukraine have
voted to join Russia in referendums that were held between September 23
In Lugansk, more than 98% of voters have supported the idea to join
Russia, official figures show with all the ballots counted. Donetsk has
shown similar results with more than 99% of voters supporting the move.
Both Zaporozhye and Kherson regions have process all the ballots by late
Tuesday, with 93% and 87% of voters respectively backing the split from
Ukraine and reunification with Russia.
The process of integrating new regions into Russia may take some time as
it requires the approval of the country’s parliament and the president.
But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that he was
“convinced it will be fast enough.”
Under the Russian constitution and the federal law on the accession of
new constituent members, the procedure includes several steps. Once the
regions willing to become part of the Russian Federation submit their
proposals to Moscow, the president should inform parliament and the
government on the matter, Senator Konstantin Kosachev explained in a
Telegram post last week.
If a political agreement on the accession is reached, “draft
international treaties on the admission of foreign states or parts of
them” to Russia should be developed, Kosachev, the vice speaker of the
upper house of parliament, said. These agreements regulate issues such
as the name and status of new territories, citizenship, succession, the
functioning of public authorities, the operation of legislation, and so
After these treaties are signed, the Russian Constitutional Court should
verify if they comply with the country’s supreme law. If there are no
violations, the next step will be the ratification of the documents by
the lower house, the State Duma, and their approval by the upper house,
the Federation Council.
Simultaneously, a draft federal constitutional law on the admission of
new constituent units to Russia should be submitted to the Duma. If
approved, it then goes to the upper house for consideration.
“This law enters into force no earlier than the entry into force of the
international treaties themselves,” Kosachev noted.
Moscow warned earlier that if the Donbass republics and the two southern
Ukrainian regions united with Russia, it would consider any attempts by
Kiev to retake them as attacks on its own land. “Immediately the Russian
Constitution will come into force in relation to these territories where
everything is very clearly stated in this regard,” Peskov told
journalists last week.
Shortly after the regions decided to hold referendums, Russian President
Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization that involved calling to
arms some 300,000 reservists, according to the military. Media reports
have suggested that Moscow allegedly plans to mobilize up to a million.
Kiev considers the territories willing to join Russia to be under
illegal occupation and said it would not recognize the results of the
referendums. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has ruled out any
possibility of talks after the voting.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba stated last Tuesday that
“Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep
liberating them, whatever Russia has to say.”
The EU and the US have already called the voting a “sham.” US Secretary
of State Antony Blinken told CBS on Sunday that the LPR, DPR, Kherson
and Zaporozhye regions “will never be recognized” as part of Russian
territory. He added that Kiev had “every right” to take them back.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to
implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk
and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols,
brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former
Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main
goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as
independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a
neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev
insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.