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Separatist Leaders Arrive In Moscow, Annexation Procedures To Begin Friday


Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to address the parliament on Friday and may attend a rally in support of the rigged annexation "referendums" held in the occupied parts of Ukraine, after the separatist leaders of these regions touched down in Moscow.

  • Friday will see a phased closure of central streets and embankments of Moscow, starting from 6am local time. State Duma sources told RBC that this is due to a planned rally to mark the impending annexation of the Ukrainian Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions into the Russian Federation.
  • TASS and RBC sources suggested that the rally could take place on the Red Square and President Putin could make a speech there, although his attendance has not been officially confirmed. Putin is expected to address lawmakers earlier in the day, although to the best of our knowledge local media have not yet provided any specific time.
  • Press reports suggest that officials will stick to their script from 2014 when Russia announced the annexation of Crimea. After his speech to parliament, Putin is expected to sign annexation agreements with the four separatist leaders and then may address the public during a special rally-concert.
  • While the annexation procedures should not bring any surprises, Putin's speech(es) will be watched for hints on the Kremlin's determination in imposing its control over the four annexed regions. That said, there seems to be little scope for notable rhetorical escalation, with Russia already flexing its nuclear muscles (most see the risk of Russia acting on these threats as low).
  • Vedomosti reports that Duma Chairman Volodin asked lawmakers to adjust their work schedules for next week in order to pass annexation bills in a plenary sitting on October 3. The legislation is expected to be approved by the Federation Council the following day, after which they will be signed by the President.

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