Citizens of Ukraine have begun recognizing that the people they knew did not participate in the vote to annex Ukrainian territories to allow them to become part of Russia. The “voting” occurred in Zaporizhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized these areas’ independence early on Friday.
Putin also signed accession treaties with the leaders of the four regions, that Moscow installed, later on Friday. The regions were industrialized in the Soviet area era and make up a fifth of Ukraine’s territory and a quarter of its GDP. The regions also create land access between the Crimean Peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014. The regions also partially block Kyiv’s access to the Black Sea and cover Ukraine’s part of the Sea of Azov. Military action is expected to continue despite the annexation.