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U.S. warns Russia may annex more Ukrainian territory

A family holds a burial service for 43-year-old Andriy Voznenko, who was taken from the village of Ozera by Russian soldiers on March 21. (Video: Joyce Koh/The Washington Post)
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With Russian forces stalled and frustrated in the Donbas region, U.S. officials warned Monday that Moscow could soon annex more Ukrainian territory, beginning with its occupied land in the east and possibly stretching south to the city of Kherson.

The planned annexations will include sham referendums in the separatist-backed parts of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, along with the area around Kherson, said Michael Carpenter, the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The move to formally seize control of the regions would come as U.S. defense officials assess Russia’s progress elsewhere in Donbas as “minimal” and “anemic.”

Meanwhile, Ukrainians anxiously awaited news of the first convoy of civilian evacuees from a surrounded steel plant in Mariupol, which has for weeks suffered under a relentless Russian siege.

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