Russia is poised to formally annex four regions of Ukraine seized by Russia’s military after its invasion in February. The Kremlin says President Vladimir Putin will announce the annexations during a speech in Moscow on Friday. This week, authorities in the four Russian-held regions said residents voted overwhelmingly in support of referendums on whether to become part of the Russian Federation. The votes were condemned as a sham and a violation of international law by Ukraine, the United Nations, and the U.S. and its allies.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have finished excavating a mass burial site in a forest in the town of Izium, which Ukraine recaptured in a counteroffensive this month. Kharkiv’s regional governor said most of the 436 people buried at the site had their hands bound, with gunshot wounds and signs of torture. After headlines, we’ll speak with a Ukrainian journalist just back from Izium.