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Ukraine advances and gains ground in the east and south

The Upper House of the Russian Parliament approves the accession of four Ukrainian regions, violating international law

Legislators from the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation listen to the national anthem as they attend a session in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 4. (Photo: Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation/AP)

The Upper House of the Russian Parliament on Tuesday unanimously sanctioned the accession of four Ukrainian regions to Russia, violating international law.

The Federation Council approved the constitutional laws on the illegal annexation of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.

The lower house, the State Duma, also voted unanimously to authorize the illegal annexation on Monday, the Russian state news agency TASS reported.

The four accession documents – one for each region – will now go to the table of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the laws, the residents of the new entities were recognized as Russian citizens from September 30, when the formal accession agreements between the Russian Federation and the four regions were signed in the St. George Hall of the Kremlin.

Following the results of the so-called referendums, Putin delivered a formal speech at Friday’s ceremony, declaring that the millions of people living in the four regions would be Russian citizens “forever.”

Russian-backed leaders have held votes in all four regions in recent weeks. The votes are illegal under international law and were rejected by Kyiv and Western leaders as a “farce”.

Residents of the new regions can acquire Russian citizenship by filing applications and taking an oath as Russian citizens, according to TASS.

According to the laws, the DPR and the LPR will maintain their status as republics after their accession to Russia and Russian will be their official language. The Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions will also join Russia as constituent entities and will continue to be called “regions,” TASS reported.

The borders of the republics and regions will be the same as they existed on the day of their creation and accession to Russia, and their borders with other countries will be considered as the state borders of Russia, according to TASS.

The DPR and LPR join Russia under the 2014 borders outlined in their “constitutions,” according to TASS.

The moves in the Russian parliament contradict the state of the war on the ground in Ukraine, where Kyiv has scored sweeping victories in the country’s east and south and forced Moscow to withdraw from several positions in areas the Kremlin has declared annexation.

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