Vladimir Putin expected to address Federal Assembly

Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the Russian Federal Assembly today. Results from referendums held between September 23rd and September

Vladimir Putin will address the Russian Federal Assembly today following the recent annexation referendums in Russian-controlled Ukraine – Photo: Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the Russian Federal Assembly today.

Results from referendums held between September 23rd and September 27th in the partially Russian-controlled Ukrainian regions of Donbas, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia showed that an unusually high percentage of people—99.23%—supported joining Russia.

The referendums are understood by Ukraine and its allies to be staged and a pre-text for the formal annexation of the territories by Russia, which Putin declared as independent before sending troops to invade Ukraine. Putin is expected to formally bring the annexed territories into law at today’s address, similar to the manner in which Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent calls for legally binding security guarantees from the allies and for the removal of Russia as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are unlikely to materialize in the short-term. However, the international community will further back Ukraine given an expected escalation of fighting by Russian troops in the east. Russia has recently renewed threats of tactical nuclear weapons use to defend the illegally captured territories, while the sudden gas leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea point towards sabotage.