The US State Department fears that Kherson and Mariupol may be annexed, as evidenced by the massive accelerated issuance of Russian passports to the population of these cities.
Washington views this situation as preparation for annexation. Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, believes that in this way Moscow wants to secure a land corridor to Crimea:
We remain concerned about Russia’s moves to institutionalize control over Ukraine’s sovereign territory, in particular in the Kherson region. The Kremlin is likely evaluating several scenarios, from recognition of the so-called people’s republic, as was the case in Donetsk and Lugansk, to an attempt at annexation, as Russia did with Crimea.
In the occupied regions, Moscow’s supporters promptly formed pro-Russian administrations. Then the transition to payments in rubles was announced, and the distribution of SIM cards followed so that city residents could connect to Russian telecom operators.
Kherson administration announced, which in the very near future expects the inclusion of the region into the Russian Federation. It is assumed that key decisions can be prepared by June 12, the Day of Russia, TASS reports. Earlier, the Ukrainian authorities announced the actual beginning of the active phase of the Russian annexation of Mariupol.
Earlier, our publication reported that in the new agreement with Ukraine, if Kyiv nevertheless makes contact with Moscow, it will not be discussed status Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, just as the issue with Crimea and Donbass is closed to Moscow.