Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces are set to vote from today in “referendums” to join Russia, a move that has been challenged by the West.
It comes as Russian fear over Putin’s drive to conscript a further 300,000 troops to serve in Ukraine is growing as protest arrests climb and many flee to the border.
A huge 1,300 arrests have been made across Russia in protests of Vladimir Putin’s drive to conscript thousands more people to serve in the Ukraine war.
Putin ordered the mobilisation of Russian civilians on Wednesday morning, and called up 300,000 reservists in a “chest-banging” speech on TV in which he also made a thinly veiled threat to nuke the West.
Read our Ukraine-Russia live blog below for the latest udpates…