Russia is facing another round of sanctions on prominent individuals and sectors of its economy after proclaiming it has annexed four Ukrainian regions. The United States said it will announce sanctions in the coming days.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign formal documents tomorrow declaring these four Ukrainian regions are now Russian. The territory makes up 15 percent of Ukraine’s country.
It comes as Russia rushes to lock in territorial claims that the Ukrainian army is threatening to reverse on the battlefield. It shows that Putin is doubling down on his war against Ukraine despite suffering a major military reversal this month.
The U.S. and allied nations rejected Russia’s sham referendums in the four Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. The elections are widely seen as rigged, and many irregular voting practices were reported.
Washington and the European Union are set to impose additional sanctions on Russia over the plan, and even some of Russia’s close traditional allies, such as Serbia and Kazakhstan, say they will not recognize the annexation.
U.S. sanctions are expected quickly. The European Union proposed an eight package of sanctions on Russia yesterday in response to the referendums, and the U.K. has already announced 92 new sanctions as a result of the sham votes.
There are widespread fears that Moscow could resort to using nuclear weapons to “defend” what it will then claim is its territory if necessary.
The United States has also unveiled additional support to Ukraine with a $1.1 billion weapons package for the country. It includes 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, accompanying munitions, various types of counter-drone systems, and radar systems.
The announcement brings the U.S. security aid to $16.2 billion.
The head of the upper house of the Russian parliament has said the chamber could consider the incorporation of the four regions on Oct. 4, three days before Putin’s 70th birthday.