Ukraine: The Russian Senate approves the annexation of the four Ukrainian territories occupied by the army | International
Without a single vote against, the Council of the Russian Federation, the upper house or Senate, has given the green light to the annexation of the Ukrainian territories that the Russian army partially controls. The formal accession of Donetsk, Luganks, Kherson and Zaporizhia, not recognized by the international community, allows the Kremlin to justify its defense against the Ukrainian advance. "This will be the sacred duty of our country," warned the president of the Senate, Valentina Matviyenko. After the formal annexation of these four provinces, the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, has rejected any negotiations with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. This Tuesday, Zelenski has promulgated a decree that collects what was agreed in the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council and that vetoes precisely the possibility of dialogue with Moscow.
Laws passed in the Russian Senate will be sent back to the Kremlin for Putin to sign. The formal process will end with the introduction of some amendments to the Russian Constitution, whose article 65 lists all its territorial entities. The Magna Carta was reformed two years ago to subordinate all international laws to it and to prohibit the alienation of any area of the country, including disputed areas such as the Sakhalin Islands with Japan. With the inclusion of part of Donbas and southern Ukraine, "the procedure will be complete," Andrei Klishas, chairman of the Committee for Constitutional Legislation and State Building, announced on Tuesday.
Russian legislators thus advance in the formalities of a process that recognizes neither the sovereign country of those territories, Ukraine, nor the West, nor Russia's last supporters in the international community, such as India or China. UN Secretary General António Guterres warned as much last week. “Any annexation resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law,” he stressed.
The procedure began with five-day pseudo-referendums in the midst of the war, in the occupied territory and in Russia, and without the participation of the Ukrainians who had disappeared, died or had taken refuge in any other part of their country or Europe. A week later, the Senate has given its approval in a session in which the President of the Chamber herself could not vote on time because she was commenting on the voting procedure. After apologizing, she asked that her vote be counted.
This Monday the treaties were unanimously approved in the State Duma. The Águentsvo news agency has reported that only 408 deputies had registered to vote that day, but the support counted was higher in Donetsk (413), Lugansk (412), Zaporizhia (409) and Kherson (411). The president of the Duma, Viacheslav Volodin, has assured that "it was a technical error" and has stressed that "one more or one less vote should not be taken into account" due to "unambiguous support".
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89 federal entities
“Let us congratulate the residents of the Donbas, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions for this truly historic event. We have completed this stage and now we have four new subjects from the Russian Federation. We are already 89″, Matviyenko stated from the Senate on Tuesday.
The annexation of these territories has meant crossing the Rubicon for the Kremlin in the midst of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Since Putin signed the treaties last Friday, his armed forces have lost Liman and suffered several breakouts on the Kherson front line.
“Our new compatriots thus become Russian citizens forever. You can be sure that Russia will protect and support you in any situation. This is the sacred duty of our country”, stressed the president of the Senate. The new law establishes that the inhabitants who have remained in the occupied areas or have fled exclusively to this country will be able to acquire Russian citizenship after taking a formal oath before the authorities. Also, the forces that were formed with the citizens of the area will be formally integrated into the Russian army.
The people who still live there will hardly have a couple of months to change their savings. The annexation treaties provide that only hryvnias, the Ukrainian currency, will be allowed to circulate until December 31 for cash operations.
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