Kremlin planning to declare Ukraine captured territory as part of Russia.

Russia prepared the path for the legal annexation of large swaths of Ukraine on Tuesday, escalating the Kremlin’s conflict with Kyiv.

Pro-Moscow officials in four occupied Ukrainian regions, totaling 15% of the country’s territory, announced preparations for referendums leading to annexation later this week.

Vladimir Putin was scheduled to address the Russian people in a televised address on Tuesday, but it was postponed without reason.

The Kremlin has previously warned that it would protect any acquired territory by any means necessary, raising the risk of nuclear weapons in reaction to Western-backed Ukrainian efforts to regain the area.

The referendums were dubbed a sham by international leaders assembled at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Putin has also become increasingly isolated during meetings with China, India, and Turkey, all of whom expressed concern over the crisis.

Ukraine denounced the referendums as an effort by Moscow to retake the initiative following catastrophic war setbacks.

The occupants are plainly in a panic, stated President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukrainian leaders have stated that the counter-offensive will continue even if Russia formally annexes new territories.

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