UK expects Putin to announce annexation of eastern Ukrainian territories on Friday

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The UK Intelligence services consider that there is “a realistic possibility” that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, will announce on Friday the formal annexation of the territories of eastern Ukraine where referendums are being held during these days.

Putin is scheduled to address both houses of Parliament that day, so London expects him to use the occasion to formalize an announcement that, as already advanced by the Kremlin, would be quick once the results of the consultations that conclude this Tuesday are known.

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British military intelligence predicts that the annexation will serve Putin to justify his military offensive and try to “consolidate patriotic support” for the cause, after the latest defeats on the battlefield and the apparent social unrest derived from the call-up of reservists.

Ukrainian authorities and Western governments do not grant any validity to the referendums initiated on September 23 in the areas of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporiyia under the control of Russian forces and, in fact, blocs such as the European Union have threatened to impose further sanctions if Moscow goes ahead with its expansionist plans.

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