Russia’s Constitutional Court has approved the accession treaties signed by President Vladimir Putin allowing four former Ukrainian regions to become part of the Russian Federation after referendums.
The court on Sunday ruled to “recognize…as corresponding to the constitution of the Russian Federation” the accords that would admit formerly breakaway People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, as well as southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions to lawfully join Russia, reports said.
According to Press TV, the court also ruled that the “international treaties” on the incorporation of the four regions complied with the Russian constitution, noting that the transition period on integration would last until January 1, 2026.
Russian media also reported that Putin appointed senior lawmakers, Andrey Klishas and Pavel Krasheninnikov, as his representatives in legislative deliberations regarding the integration of the regions.
Citing Krasheninnikov, Interfax news agency said people residing in the new territories will acquire Russian citizenship after taking the oath of allegiance, while the ruble will become the official currency there, though settlements in Ukraine’s hryvnias currency will be possible before the end of the current year.
The development came as the Russian president also forwarded accession treaties, which formalize the integration of four Ukrainian regions into Russian soil, to the State Duma — the lower house of the Russian parliament — for ratification.
The regions had earlier voted overwhelmingly in favor of accession to the Russian Federation during separate referendums despite a widely publicized media campaign by Kiev and its Western sponsors censuring the votes as “a sham.”
The votes were held amid an ongoing Russian military operation in Ukraine, launched in late February following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the 2014 Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
On Sunday, leaders of nine European countries that are also members of the US-led NATO military alliance, slammed what they referred to as Russia’s “annexation” of the breakaway regions.
“We do not recognize and will never recognize Russian attempts to annex any Ukrainian territory,” said the presidents of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia in a joint statement.