U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss said that Britain "will never accept the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia as anything other than Ukrainian territory," Reuters reported on Sept. 30.
"(Russian President Vladimir) Putin cannot be allowed to alter international borders using brute force," Truss said. "We will ensure he loses this illegal war."
On Sept. 30, Putin announced that Russia is annexing Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson oblasts during a ceremony in the Grand Kremlin Palace. Russia's leaders hope this announcement will be seen as a vindication of the war and "will consolidate patriotic support for the conflict," the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Sept. 27.
On Sept. 23, Russia’s proxies in the south and east parts of Ukraine announced they would hold pseudo-referendums, claiming to ask locals if they wanted the territories to "join Russia."
On Sept. 27, Russian leaders and Moscow-installed proxies declared that nearly 100% of the people living in the occupied territories of Ukraine supported Russian annexation, which was followed by Putin signing decrees "recognizing independence" of Ukraine's Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.