The British Ministry of Defense thinks that Russian President Vladimir Putin may announce the accession of the occupied Ukrainian territories to Russia on Friday.
That day he addresses both chambers of parliament in Moscow.
Referendums on whether the regions should join Russia will be held in the occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia until Tuesday. Reports of coercive voting are coming from several places. Ukraine and the West speak of mock referendums.
The British ministry thinks Russian leaders “almost certainly” hope the annexation announcement will be seen as justifying the war in Ukraine and strengthening patriotic support for the “special military operation”.
The British write based on intelligence that the recent setbacks will undermine this pursuit for Russia in Ukraine and the partial mobilization.