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Putin: Occupied Ukrainian regions to be integrated with Russia by 2030

by Abbey Fenbert February 2, 2024 7:15 AM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference on Dec. 14, 2023, in Moscow, Russia. (Kremlin.ru/Telegram)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Jan. 31 that Ukrainian territories currently under occupation must be fully integrated with the Russian Federation by the year 2030.

Ukraine's eastern Donbas region has been illegally occupied by Russian forces since 2014, the same year Russia illegally annexed Crimea. Since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022, parts of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Mykolaiv oblasts remain under Russian occupation.

Putin said that over the next six years, the occupied regions "must reach the all-Russia level" by developing in certain "key areas."

The speech painted a rosy picture of the so-called "integration" process, with Putin claiming "good momentum" on socio-economic development in the occupied territories.

He also urged Russian banks not to worry about Western sanctions.

"What is there to be afraid of? We need to enter these (Ukrainian) territories more actively and work there," Putin said, addressing his remarks to financial institutions.

Russian media reported on Feb. 1 that Turkish banks were closing accounts with Russian businesses due to the threat of U.S. sanctions.

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Dec. 22, 2023 sanctioning foreign financial institutions that contribute to Russia's war effort.

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According to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Putin's remarks indicate that he is preparing to remain at war with Ukraine over the long term.

"Russia is commencing long-term plans and does not foresee any territorial concessions," the ISW said on Feb. 1.

Bloomberg reported on Jan. 26 that Putin has signaled willingness to enter into peace talks, and that he would drop opposition to Ukraine joining NATO in exchange for control over Ukraine's occupied territories.

Russian-occupied regions constitute about 18% of Ukraine's territory. Kyiv has said that a condition of any peace plan is Russia's complete withdrawal from Ukrainian lands.

Ukrainian and Western leaders have also repeatedly said that they do not believe Moscow is interested in good-faith peace negotiations.

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