The decrees say that Russia "recognizes independence" of Ukraine's southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, which Russia partly invaded earlier this year.The move follows Russia's sham referendums that it staged in the occupied territories on Sept. 23-27, claiming to ask locals if they wanted the territories to "join Russia." In this way, Russia seeks to solidify its control over the invaded Ukrainian territories following the recent successful counter-offensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be signing the "documents" to formally annex Ukraine's occupied territories on Sept. 30, a move condemned by Ukraine and its Western allies as illegitimate and void.
Back in February, Putin declared the "independence" of Russian proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which was seen as a major escalation in the eight-year-old war. Days later, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.