TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees on Thursday recognizing the independence of the Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
The regions will be formally admitted into Russia on Friday, along with the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, which were recognized by Russia earlier this year.
Just after midnight on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two decrees recognizing Kherson and Zaporozhye as regions independent of Ukraine, Sputnik reported.
“In accordance with the generally accepted principles and norms of international law, recognizing and confirming the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples enshrines in the Charter of the United Nations, and taking into account the will of the people of the Kherson region at the referendum, which took place on September 27, 2022, I hereby decree: to recognize the sovereignty and independence of the Kherson region,” the signed decree read.
Referenda in the two territories, which Russia has controlled since early in its special operation in Ukraine, were held from September 23 through 27 to determine their status, following requests from local administrators. The votes showed that 87.05% of voters in Kherson region and 93.11% in Zaporozhye region wanted to join the Russian Federation, just as nearby Crimea did in 2014, following the US-backed nationalist coup in Kiev.
Putin’s decree recognizes the declarations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye governments to be independent states. However, the question of annexation is expected to be taken up by the Russian government early next month.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the Donbass region rebelled against Ukrainian sovereignty in 2014 as well, after the new right-wing nationalist government attempted to reduce the status of the Russian language in the country. Before February, when Moscow recognized the independence of the Donbass republics, roughly one-third of Ukrainians were ethnic Russians and spoke Russian as their first language, which another one-third speak Russian regularly.
People whose primary or secondary language is Russian form a majority of the population or a large plurality in all five provinces that have voted to secede from Ukraine.
The special operation was launched in February 2022 following the failure of negotiations with Kiev and NATO about Russia’s security red lines. The operation aims at achieving what diplomacy could not: the neutralization of Ukraine as a base from which NATO forces would be able to attack Russia and the elimination of the neo-Nazi threat against Russians in the region.