Russia Hurries to Annex Occupied Ukraine Amid Kyiv’s Gains

(Bloomberg) -- The Kremlin is moving hastily to stage sham votes on annexing the regions of Ukraine its forces still control, after Kyiv’s military drove Russian troops from

large areas of territory taken in their seven-month-old invasion. Most Read from BloombergSouthwest Mexico Struck by 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake, Buildings Sway in

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Running Out of OptionsGrand Theft Auto VI Leak Is a Shock to Video Game Studio Rockstar The so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics may hold their votes as soon as this

weekend, Interfax quoted officials as saying Tuesday. Ukraine and its allies have denounced the referendums as illegal and few countries are likely to recognize the results.

Russian-backed officials in two other regions also announced plans to move quickly toward votes. In Moscow, officials said they’d grant the regions’ requests to be annexed

if they made them. Former President Dmitry Medvedev, who’s now deputy head of the Security Council, said the annexation would be “irreversible” and enable Russia to use “all

possible force in self-defense” in the newly-acquired territory. The move would help the Kremlin reassure supporters there worried by its hurried retreat from other

territories in the face of the Ukrainian advance in the last few weeks. It also potentially gives the Kremlin the formal basis to use nuclear weapons to defend what it considers

Russian territory.