Russia ‘laying the groundwork’ to annex Ukrainian territory under its control


Russia is laying the groundwork to annex Ukrainian territory as it seeks to establish total control over its gains in the east, according to US intelligence.

The White House says Moscow is preparing to install illegitimate proxy officials in areas under its control, establish the rouble as the default currency and force residents to apply for citizenship.

“We have information today, including from downgraded intelligence that we’re able to share with you, about how Russia is laying the groundwork to annex Ukrainian territory that it controls in direct violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” chief National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

It is the same tactic used in 2014 when Russia announced its annexation of Crimea after taking control of it from Ukraine, he added.

The international community considers Crimea’s annexation illegitimate.

“We want to make it plain to the American people,” Mr Kirby said. “Nobody is fooled by it.”


He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “dusting off the playbook from 2014”.

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Meanwhile, Mr Kirby said America will announce a fresh weapons package for Ukraine in the next few days, as the war in the country rages on.

The package is expected to include further HIMARS rocket systems, which have been used to devastating effect on the front lines as Ukrainian forces strike ammunition depots behind enemy lines.

It comes as Mr Putin visited Iran in his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed that the Ukrainian flag “will be in all our cities and villages” once again.

He said on Telegram: “The only question is time.”

“Step by step, we advance, disrupt supplies for the occupiers, identify and neutralize collaborators,” he said.


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