The Kremlin is still determining which areas of occupied Ukraine it has “annexed”, Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson has said, suggesting Russia does not know where its self-declared international borders are.
The surprising admission came in a phone call with journalists, during which Dmitry Peskov was peppered with requests to clarify to which Ukrainian territory Putin had laid claim at a pomp-filled Kremlin ceremony last week.
Putin has vowed to protect Russia’s newly claimed territories using “all means at its disposal”, indicating a potential nuclear strike. The lack of a clear red line may undermine his attempts at using nuclear deterrence to halt Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive and western support for Kyiv.
Putin on Friday signed four separate “treaties” with the Kremlin-installed leaders of territories occupied by Russia in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
But Russia does not control parts of those regions and is losing ground to a Ukrainian counteroffensive that retook the city of Lyman in Donetsk region on Saturday in a major embarrassment for the Kremlin. [Continue reading…]