Annexation Of Donetsk, Luhansk By Russia Puts Putin In A Bind
The demand of pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions for Russia to annex them will lead to a very strange situation since Moscow already recognized them as “separate” countries but their territories are being gobbled up by Ukraine, which never recognized them as breakaway republics.
Photo Insert: A metallurgical plant in Donetsk
Worse, they can no longer conduct sham referendums in the two territories to show they have popular support, Kyiv Independent reported.
These calls are causing panic everywhere in Donetsk and Luhansk, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported. As Russia does not control the entirety of either oblast, annexing proxy territories would mean Ukrainian-controlled areas would be "by Kremlin definition partially ‘occupied’ by legitimate Ukrainian authorities and advancing Ukrainian forces," ISW said.
This would "place the Kremlin in the strange position of demanding that Ukrainian forces un-occupy “Russian” territory, and the humiliating position of being unable to enforce that demand," according to the ISW. Similar referendums in Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia oblasts were also scrapped as Ukrainian troops kicked out Russian forces last week.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general Ansdriy Kostin has recorded 34,000 Russian war crimes since Russia started its invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.
Kostin said on Sept. 19 that investigators were focusing on crimes committed during the Russian occupation of a part of Kharkiv Oblast, especially in Izium. The figure also includes ongoing investigations of cases in Bucha and Irpin in Kyiv Oblast.
The General Staff of Ukraine has reported that Russia has lost 54,650 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24.
As of Sept. 19, Russia has also lost 2,212 tanks, 4,720 armored fighting vehicles, 3,581 vehicles and fuel tanks, 1,313 artillery systems, 312 multiple launch rocket systems, 168 air defense systems, 251 airplanes, 217 helicopters, 920 drones and 15 boats.
On Sept. 18 alone, a blast in occupied Svatove killed about 200 Russian troops, Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai reported.