The Russian parliament on Tuesday ratified President Vladimir Putin's annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories.
Following a referendum in the four regions of Ukraine under Russian control, Putin last week signed treaties with officials of the four regions to annex those regions. The referendums have been condemned as sham and illegal by Ukraine and the West.
It was expected from the beginning that the results of the referendums would be in Russia's favour as voting would either be rigged or forced.
The four regions being annexed by Putin are Donetsk and Luhansk in easterh Ukraine and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine.
The upper house of Russian parliament, the Federation Council, voted on Tuesday to ratify treaties to make these regions part of Russia.
The lower house had quickly rubber-stamped the accession pacts last week after Putin's announcement of the annexation.
Putin is now expected to quickly endorse the annexation treaties.
Annexation carried out in haste
Russia's moves to incorporate the Ukrainian regions have been done so hastily that even the exact borders of the territories being absorbed were unclear.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Donetsk and Luhansk are joining Russia with the same administrative borders that existed before a conflict erupted there in 2014 between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. He said the borders of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are still undecided.
But a senior Russian lawmaker offered a different view. Pavel Krasheninnikov said Zaporizhzhia will be absorbed within its "administrative borders", meaning Moscow plans to incorporate parts of the region still under Kyiv's control. He said similar logic will apply to Kherson, but that Russia will include two districts of the neighboring Mykolaiv region that are now occupied by Russia.
Latest developments in Ukraine War
Ukrainian forces is continuing with its counter-offensive in eastern Ukraine. In their latest victory, they liberated the key town of Lyman from Russians.
Ukraine launched a counter-offensive in early September and its forces have since liberated several towns held by Russians for months. Russian forces have been forced to flee from multiple fronts in the east.
Besides Lyman, major fighting is currently going on in Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka and Klynove, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
"Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Ukrainian troops made significant breakthroughs in northern Kherson Oblast between October 2-3. Geolocated footage corroborates Russian claims that Ukrainian troops are continuing to push east of Lyman and may have broken through the Luhansk Oblast border in the direction of Kreminna," reported ISW.
NEW: Ukrainian forces have made substantial gains around #Lyman and in northern #Kherson Oblast over the last 24 hours. The Russian units defeated on these fronts were previously considered to be among #Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces.https://t.co/qCfwrJolCF pic.twitter.com/GwXQBzxI0S— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) October 4, 2022
(With AP inputs)