Thinker's Chronicle

Forced Russian Annexation of Ukrainian Territory

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By: Sanya Suresh Pillai

On September 30th, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was annexing several Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories to Russia. Russia is annexing four territories, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzha, and areas in Kherson, making up almost 15% of  Ukraine. In a pompous ceremony, he proclaimed that Russia was on its way to victory, as he signed the annexation documents.

Propaganda, detainment, and torture

In what is the largest annexation in Europe since World War II, the Russian government has stated that they will continue looking for people who are willing to accept Russia. However, NATO and countries worldwide have rejected this proclamation because of Russia’s immense number of committed war crimes and the lack of validity in voting.

In the referendums organized by the Kremlin, many people reported that they were held at gunpoint and forced to vote for Russia, and they would have to fill out the ballot forms with Russian soldiers watching them. However, the Russian government’s propaganda movements state that the majority voted willingly, and that they were ready to embrace Russia. Officials have also found evidence of the Russian government using cruel detention and torture methods on people, either to extract information or bend them to their will. Many people who have been detained have shared their experiences of being brutally beaten, starved, shocked or burnt, suffocated, etc. Victims have also suffered severe injuries that can give them lifelong impediments, or they were ruthlessly murdered. Russia’s use of coercion and torture methods have been considered as violations of international law, which can account as war crimes. 

Photo credit: Atlantic Council

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

The Opposition

However, the annexation has only escalated the war itself, as politics comes into play. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised to reclaim all of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea, which was annexed through similar unlawful referendums. Western governments have allied with Ukraine and are providing supplies, financial aid, and weapons to support them. On the other hand, Putin has stated that they will protect their newly annexed territories––and may even rely on nuclear weapons if needed. Putin’s claim has struck fear throughout, as many countries are unsure whether they should enter the struggle between Ukraine and Russia, and possibly face the disastrous consequences of doing so. 

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy has continued to push NATO to include Ukraine in the alliance. NATO has continuously supported Ukraine, and the countries within the alliance, including the EU, France, Japan, Italy, Germany, etc, have constantly stated that they will not fall for the false referendums and annexation documents. Countries have also implemented sanctions and visa restrictions to restrict the Russian government. NATO is hesitant, however, to allow Ukraine to enter, as that would require all allies to send troops to Ukraine and could prolong the conflict. For now, as we face the destruction from this shocking turn of events, we must rely on the stories and reports of victims to paint the picture of what is happening behind the scenes in Russia, as the world gets twisted into another gruesome struggle for power.