A woman casts her ballot during voting in a so-called referendum on the joining of Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine to Russia, in a hospital in Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, September 25, 2022.Photo: EPA/STRINGER
"There is a realistic possibility that Putin will use his address to formally announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation," the UK defence ministry said in a daily intelligence bulletin.
It noted that the referendums currently under way within these areas are scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.
"Russia's leaders almost certainly hope that any accession announcement will be seen as a vindication of the special military operation and will consolidate patriotic support for the conflict," the British defence ministry said in its daily briefing on Tuesday.
"This aspiration will likely be undermined by the increasing domestic awareness of Russia’s recent battlefield sets-backs and significant unease about the partial mobilisation announced last week," it added.
Tuesday is day 216 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters