Russia pushes its pawns on the Ukrainian political chessboard. The authorities installed by Moscow in the Ukrainian region of Kherson indicated, on Wednesday, May 11, that they wanted to ask Vladimir Putin for annexation, the latest sign to date that Russia intends to conquer Ukrainian lands. This operating mode recalls the annexations of two regions of Donbass before the outbreak of the conflict.

“There will be a request (addressed to the Russian President) to integrate the Kherson region as a full subject of the Russian Federation”told Russian agencies Kirill Stremoussov, deputy head of the military-civilian administration of Kherson, a region taken by the Russian army at the start of the offensive launched by Moscow in February against Ukraine. “The whole legal basis (…) will be ready before the end of the year”, he said. He added that since the international community did not recognize Crimea’s 2014 referendum to join Russia, the Kherson region will not hold a poll.

“The Ukrainian army will liberate Kherson”, assures kyiv

Vladimir Putin ordered the assault on his neighbor accusing him of oppressing and massacring Russian speakers there. He had assured that he did not want to occupy Ukrainian territories, but to rule out a regime “russophobe” and “neo-Nazi” to allow the installation of a power more favorable to the Russians. But the military operations were halted by the fierce resistance of the Ukrainians, so that apart from Kherson and the capture of part of the region of Zaporijjia, the Russian successes on the ground remained limited.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to the annexation idea on Wednesday by judging “that it is up to the inhabitants of the Kherson region to decide whether an appeal should be made” to Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak reacted sarcastically: “The occupiers can always ask for union, even with Mars or Jupiter, but the Ukrainian army will liberate Kherson”. The Kherson region, located just north of the Crimea annexed by Moscow, is essential for supplying the peninsula with water. Its conquest also makes it possible to constitute a land bridge linking Crimea, the pro-Russian separatist region of Donetsk and Russian territory.

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