President Vladimir Putin will host a signing ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday to incorporate four Ukrainian areas into Russia, according to his spokesman.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said a signing ceremony “on agreements on the admission of new regions into the Russian Federation” would take place on Friday at 1500 Moscow time (1200 GMT).
Agreements will be signed “with all four territories that held referendums and made corresponding requests to the Russian side,” Peskov said.
The votes were cast in the West as illegal and illegitimate. Putin’s decision to incorporate the regions into Russia means Moscow will annex vast areas across eastern and southern Ukraine, representing around 15% of Ukraine’s total territory.
Russian-backed officials in four regions of Ukraine controlled by Russian forces said referendums showed overwhelming majorities of their populations had voted to join Russia in votes slammed by Ukraine and the West as “shams”.
Following the signing ceremonies in the Kremlin, Putin will give a major speech and will meet with Moscow-appointed administrators of the Ukrainian regions, the Kremlin said.