What comes next?
The annexation documents have been signed and Putin has delivered his speech. We’re now waiting to see how the world reacts.
Here’s what happens next in Russia:
- This evening, a concert will take place on Red Square. Reports on Telegram suggest some people are being paid to attend and have been encouraged to bring flags. Earlier this week, Mediazona reported that students were being invited to attend in exchange for university credits
- A similar rally took place in 2014, after the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, which Putin attended, and at which he gave a speech
- The Constitutional Court will then have to approve the annexations – happening in the next few days
- Once the Constitutional Court’s approval has come through, the State Duma will approve agreements and adopt amendments to the Constitution increasing the size of the Russian Federation
- The documents will then approved by the Federation Council, after which the decision of the Duma is officially signed by Vladimir Putin
- The process is expected to be completed by 4 October but this is the Russian legal process and the annexations will not be recognised by the international community
‘Russia, Russia, Russia!’
The ceremony has now concluded – at the end President Putin and the Russian-backed leaders of the regions being seized stood for the crowd. The audience in the grand hall chanted «Russia! Russia! Russia!».
The scene resembles the events of eight years ago, when Putin was standing with the Moscow-installed leaders of Crimea – a southern Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia.
We’ll bring you analysis and reaction to this illegal move by Russia to declare Ukrainian territory as Russia’s own, seven months after it invaded the country.