Russia declines to clarify the borders of territories it claims to have annexed

Moscow refrained from giving a concrete answer when asked how the borders of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions should be defined under the Kremlin’s newly-signed claimed illegal annexations.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “certain territories there are still to be returned,” following rapid advances by Ukrainian forces in the south.

When asked by CNN how he would interpret the language of the laws signed by Putin earlier Wednesday, which refers to the borders of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions as “the territory which existed on the day of its adoption in the Russian Federation,” Peskov said: “I will leave this question unanswered.”

When asked by CNN if he can provide any comment at all for better understanding, Peskov said: “You should read the decree, there is a legal wording there. On the whole, of course, we are talking about the territory in which the military-civilian administration operated at the time of its adoption (as part of the Russian Federation).”

When asked again by CNN if this should to be read as the territory captured by Russian troops as of September 30, Peskov said: “(You should stick to) what is written in the decree. But I repeat once again: Certain territories there are still to be returned, and we continue to consult with those populations that will express a desire to live with Russia.”

Asked one more time by CNN whether any additional laws would be required to include those areas into the Russian Federation, or whether they would automatically be included as part of the regions under the signed laws, if and when they are “returned,” Peskov said: “For now, I have nothing to add.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the documents on the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions on Wednesday, completing the last step of the annexation process, based on the Russian legal system. The annexation is illegal under international law.

Putin’s move comes as Ukrainian forces continue to press forward with territorial gains in the south and east, including in the regions Russia claims it is annexing.

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