Russia Moves to Annex Occupied Lands in Bid to Halt Ukrainian Advance

MOSCOW—Officials in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine announced plans for Russia to annex four regions in the country’s east and south, while Moscow moved to clear the way for a broader mobilization as an increasingly pressured Kremlin seeks a firm response to counter Kyiv’s offensive.

Russian-controlled parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine said they would hold three-day votes on joining Russia starting this Friday, Moscow’s latest effort to consolidate its hold on territory it took months to capture but now risks losing to Ukraine’s forces. A Kyiv offensive in the annexed areas would allow Russia to claim an attack against its own territory, raising the threat of an escalation in the conflict.

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