Putin to change status of Ukraine 'special operation' to 'counter terrorism' in new plot

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to change the status of his “special operation” in Ukraine. Putin will address his nation later today, according to Russian website Readovka. The news comes as the head of the Crimea region Sergey Aksyonov spoke with the assumption that after the accession of new regions to Russia, a “counter-terrorist operation” will be carried out there.

On Wednesday, Putin completed the formal annexation of more than 15 percent of Ukraine just as Russian forces battled to halt Ukrainian counter-offensives across swathes of the territory.

In the biggest expansion of Russian territory in at least half a century, Putin signed laws admitting the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region into Russia.

The lower house of parliament said: “President Vladimir Putin has signed four federal constitutional laws on the entry of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions into the Russian Federation.” 

“He also signed the relevant laws on ratification,” the Duma said.

Together with Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, Putin’s total claim amounts to more than 22 percent of Ukrainian territory, though the exact borders of the four regions he is annexing are still yet to be finally clarified.

Russia, which recognised Ukraine’s post-Soviet borders in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, will never give the regions back, Putin said on Friday at a grand Kremlin treaty-signing ceremony which brought the partially controlled regions into Russia.

Russia’s parliament said people living in the annexed regions would be granted Russian passports, the Russian Central Bank would oversee financial stability and the Russian rouble would be the official currency.

In justifying the February 24 invasion, Putin said that Russian speakers in Ukraine had been persecuted by Ukraine which, he said, the West was trying to use to undermine Russian security.

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Ukraine and its Western backers say that Putin has no justification for what they say is an imperial-style land grab.

Kyiv denies Russian speakers were persecuted.

Now Putin casts the war as a battle for Russia’s survival against the United States and its allies, which he says want to destroy Russia and grab its vast natural resources.

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