Russia will likely formally annex four more areas of eastern Ukraine this week. The country’s president, Vladimir Putin, is widely expected to declare the annexation on Friday. He is scheduled to address both houses of parliament on Friday. Analysts say this is a signal that Russia is willing to escalate the conflict. However, some experts worry that annexation could give Moscow the opportunity to label Ukrainian attacks in these regions as an attack on Russia, resulting in the threat of a nuclear strike.
The United States, Europe and other Western countries have all condemned the annexation. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that the United States would never recognize the territory annexed by Russia. Meanwhile, United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield says that the United States will propose a resolution to the U.N. Security Council condemning Russia’s annexation efforts. In addition, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for Russia to be suspended from all international organizations.
They has said it is planning to formally annex four more areas in Ukraine, following its announcement last week that it had passed referendums in four provinces in Ukraine. Although the Western countries have not recognized these referendums, the Kremlin has argued that the votes were legitimate. If annexation occurs, the territory will become part of Russia, which means the Russian nuclear umbrella will extend across the entire area.