Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws illegally claiming the annexation of four regions of Ukraine amid his military’s struggles during its ongoing invasion of the neighboring country.
The documents finalizing the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, which violated international laws, were published on a Russian government website Wednesday (October 5), days after Ukraine announced it had retaken control of Lyman, a city within Donetsk, the Associated Press reports.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that “certain territories will be reclaimed, and we will keep consulting residents who would be eager to embrace Russia” while addressing reporters during a conference call on Wednesday.
Putin’s initial announcement of annexation last week came after several previous setbacks during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and prior to the neighboring country reclaiming Lyman.
Pro-Russian officials confirmed that Kremlin troops were on the verge of encirclement in Lyman amid Putin’s announcement last week, while others believed the battle would’ve provided an opening for Ukraine to take back the four territories, according to Reuters.
Last month, Putin announced a partial military mobilization of 300,000 reservists and reiterated warnings to Western allies that he was ready to use nuclear weapons in Moscow’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine, during a rare, prerecorded television announcement, Reuters reported.
Putin claimed that Ukraine — a country he ordered troops to invade earlier this year — “wants to destroy our country” during the announcement.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people – this is not a bluff,” Putin said via Reuters.
Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that 300,000 reservists with prior military experience would be called up as part of the partial mobilization.
The decision marked Russia’s first mobilization since World War II and the biggest escalation since invaded Ukraine in February.
Ukraine and its Western allies said Putin’s call for more troops signified that his invasion of the neighboring country was failing.
“Absolutely predictable appeal, which looks more like an attempt to justify their own failure,” Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters. “The war is clearly not going according to Russia’s scenario.”
Allies vowed to continue their support of Ukraine amid Putin’s announcement.
Putin announced his country would conduct military operations in Eastern Ukraine during an NBC News translation of a speech addressing the Russian population in Moscow on February 24.
The announcement appeared to serve as the final action ahead of an attack by Putin and the Russian military, which the U.S. and European allies to the neighboring Ukraine have attempted to prevent from taking place through diplomatic discussions.