Pentagon Claims Russia Eyeing Annexation of Ukraine Territories

The Pentagon has claimed that Russia is eyeing the annexation of Ukrainian territories, including Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and all of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. 

Defense for Public Affairs spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday that Russia has been laying the foundation of the annexation, installing illegitimate proxy officials in Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions.

Kirby claimed that Russia could arrange a “sham referenda” to be used as a basis for claiming the annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territories.

“We’re seeing ample evidence in the intelligence and in the public domain that Russia intends to try to annex additional Ukrainian territory,” Kirby said.

Kirby said that Russia is seeking to establish rubles as the default currency in some Ukrainian territories by planning to set up Russian banks. He added that Russia has been issuing Russian passports in Kherson, forcing Kherson residents to apply for Russian citizenship.

Kirby said that Russia also seeks to sabotage civilian internet access, replacing telecommunications infrastructures and aiming to control broadcast towers.

Kirby said the United States would continue to expose Russia’s “annexation playbook” to inform the world that “any purported annexation is premeditated, illegal, and illegitimate.”

Kirby warned that the US would “respond swiftly and severely” with its allies if Russia proceeded with its annexation plan.

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