In an alarming update, British Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could announce the accession of occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation during his address to parliament on September 30.
Russian-backed officials in four occupied regions of Ukraine have been holding referendums in these areas on whether they want to join Russia. The West and Ukraine have denounced these referendums as illegitimate and sham.
Voting in these referendums- that started last week on Friday- is being held in two regions in Ukraine's east and two in the south- Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
The referendums come at a time when Russia is on a back-foot as Ukraine's counter-offensive has recaptured territory that Moscow seized since its February invasion.
Vladimir Putin has also announced partial mobilisation of the country's 2 million-strong military reserves a decision, which he said was taken "to defend the motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity". The move is being viewed as an escalation by the West.