LONDON (Reuters) – The Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, may debate bills incorporating Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine into Russia on Sept. 29, the state-run TASS news agency said on Saturday, citing an unnamed source.
Moscow launched referendums on joining Russia in the four occupied regions of Ukraine on Friday, drawing condemnation from Kyiv and Western nations, who dismissed the votes as a sham and pledged not to recognise their results.
Pro-Moscow authorities have made clear they consider the votes to be a foregone conclusion.
TASS cited Denis Pushilin, head of the Russia-backed separatist Donetsk area of Ukraine, as saying his priorities would not change once the region was part of Russia.
TASS quoted an unnamed Duma source as saying the chamber could debate a bill on the incorporation of Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine as soon as Thursday, two days after the end of so-called referendums in the four provinces.
The Interfax agency quoted a source saying the upper house could consider the bill the same day, and RIA Novosti, also citing an unnamed source, said President Vladimir Putin could be preparing to make a formal address to an extraordinary joint session of both houses on Friday.
An official in Luhansk region announced the turnout after two days of voting was 45.9% while in Zaporizhzhia it was 35.5%, Russian agencies said. Voting is due to end on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey and David Ljunggren)