The Russian president has signed two decrees recognizing Kherson and Zaporozhye as regions independent of Ukraine.

Iran PressEurope: In recent days, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions held referenda on their status, voting by large majorities to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. The Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics also held referenda, but only on joining Russia - both republics voted heavily in favor of accession.

"In accordance with the generally accepted principles and norms of international law, recognizing and confirming the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples enshrines in the Charter of the United Nations, and taking into account the will of the people of the Kherson region at the referendum, which took place on September 27, 2022, I hereby decree: to recognize the sovereignty and independence of the Kherson region," the decree, signed by Vladimir Putin just after midnight on Friday, read.

Referenda in the two territories, which Russia has controlled since early in its special operation in Ukraine, were held from September 23 through 27 to determine their status, following requests from local administrators.

The votes showed that 87.05% of voters in the Kherson region and 93.11% in the Zaporozhye region wanted to join the Russian Federation, just as nearby Crimea did in 2014, following the US-backed nationalist coup in Kyiv.

The Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in the Donbas region rebelled against Ukrainian sovereignty in 2014 as well, after the new right-wing nationalist government attempted to reduce the status of the Russian language in the country. Before February, when Moscow recognized the independence of the Donbas republics, roughly one-third of Ukrainians were ethnic Russians and spoke Russian as their first language, while another one-third speak Russian regularly.

The special operation was launched in February 2022 following the failure of negotiations with Kyiv and NATO about Russia's security red lines. The operation aims at achieving what diplomacy could not: the neutralization of Ukraine as a base from which NATO forces would be able to attack Russia and the elimination of the neo-Nazi threat against Russians in the region.


Read more:

Russia to annex occupied areas of Ukraine on Friday

Putin: Russia never give Crimea back to Ukraine