In its September 27 Russian offensive campaign assessment, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War suggests that Russian President Vladimir Putin will “likely” announce Russia’s annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory on September 30.
The Russian occupation authorities in Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine’s Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts completed their falsified annexation “referenda” on September 27 with implausible claims that “each sham referendum received between 87 and 99% approval from Ukrainian residents.” Now, ISW says,
“The completion of the performative referenda marks the last prerequisite for Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare the Russian annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory.”
Referring to the UK Defense Ministry’s intelligence update, ISW says that Putin will likely make the declaration before or during an address to both houses of Russia’s parliament on September 30 as he followed a similar approach when he illegally annexed Ukrainian Crimea in 2014: “a sham referendum, followed by a presidential decree of recognition and a treaty of accession that the Russian Federal Assembly formally approved within five days of the sham Crimean referendum.”
Both heads of occupation administration of Donetsk and Luhansk are going to travel to Moscow to “sign an agreement.”
“ISW previously forecasted that Putin will annex occupied Ukrainian territory by or soon after October 1 to enable the forced conscription of Ukrainian civilians into the Russian military in the normal autumn conscription cycle,” ISW notes.