Leaders of the current Russian-occupied city of Kherson have made a plea to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the region to become part of Russia as Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine continues.
The deputy head of Kherson’s regional military and civilian administration Khrill Stremousov made the announcement of the Kherson region’s request to Putin at a news conference on Wednesday, according to Russian media outlet Tass.
“The referendum, which was absolutely legally held in Crimea, was not recognized by the world community, which did everything not to recognize Russia as a full-blown member of the global community,” Stremousov said at the news conference.
“Therefore, this will be one single decree based on the appeal of the leadership of the Kherson region to Russian President Vladimir Putin. There will be a request to make the Kherson region a full-fledged constituent of the Russian Federation. ”
The Washington Post reported that Stremousov, who was tapped by Russia to control the region, also said at the news conference that the framework of the defection will happen at the end of the year.
In a statement, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted that it is up to the residents of Kherson to decide if they want their region to join Russia, adding that the possible move should have legal justification as well, according to Reuters.
This comes as Britain’s Ministry of Defense recently noted Russia’s plans to legitimize control in the pro-Moscow region, adding that Russia wants to transition the city’s currency from the Ukrainian hryvnia to the ruble.
“Recent statements from this administration include declaring a return to Ukrainian control ‘impossible’ and announcing a four-month currency transition from the Ukrainian hryvnia to the Russian rouble,” the ministry said. “The Russian rouble is due to be used in Kherson from today.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February, has killed thousands on both sides and displaced nearly 6 million Ukrainian citizens.