The illegally annexed Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Cherson and Zaporizhia are declared Russian state territory after President Putin has signed the relevant laws. The regions are now officially under the protection of the nuclear power.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the laws previously passed by the State Duma and the Federation Council on the integration of the four Ukrainian regions into Russian territory and thus put them into force, as the Kremlin announced in Moscow.

This means that these regions are officially under the protection of the nuclear power. However, Moscow currently controls only parts of these areas in southern and eastern Ukraine. The Ukraine has recently reported land gains there again and again. Initially, the regions will be headed by officials appointed by Moscow, because the regional parliaments are not to be elected until September next year.

As can be seen from the decrees signed by Putin, the former separatist leader Denis Puschilin will be appointed as chief in the Donetsk region and the local separatist leader Leonid Passechnik in Luhansk. Evgeny Balizki, the previous governor there, will be responsible for the Zaporizhia region. Vladimir Saldo becomes the head of the Kherson region. He was previously crew chief.

Putin had signed the internationally unrecognized accession treaties with the occupiers deployed by Moscow. Together with the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed in 2014, Russia now controls more than 16 percent of Ukraine’s territory seven months after the start of its war of aggression. The United Nations General Assembly intends to deal with the annexation in an emergency session next Monday.

According to Russian information, the integration of the areas is now to take place step by step. They should keep their names. At the beginning of 2023, the Russian currency, the ruble, is to be the sole official means of payment there. In Cherson, for example, you can still pay with Ukrainian currency at the moment. In response to the incorporation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had applied for the country’s accelerated accession to NATO.