Now Russia said it will move its clocks forward an hour so those areas are on Moscow time.
“The gradual synchronization of Russian legislation continues after four new areas are integrated into its structure,” the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade wrote. “In the near future, the regions of DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson will be included in the 2nd time zone, which will be governed by Moscow time.”
It was not clear when exactly the change would take place. But Ukraine, unlike Russia, observes daylight saving time, so all clocks will jump forward an hour on March 26, regardless of Moscow’s annexation ambitions.
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On September 30, Putin signed a decree annexing the four Ukrainian regions, despite the fact that Russian forces did not fully control any of them. In November, Ukrainian forces retook the city of Kherson, the only regional capital Moscow had taken since the invasion began. Russian proxies have controlled the capitals Luhansk and Donetsk since 2014, and its troops have so far failed to reach the city of Zaporizhia.
Despite repeated military setbacks, Putin has stated that Russia will never give up on the regions, and the Kremlin is now pushing for areas it does not control to be “liberated” from Ukraine. The illegal annexation has been widely condemned by the international community.
The time zone change in the occupied territories is the latest attempt by the Russian authorities to “Russify” conquered Ukrainian territories and to integrate the inhabitants culturally and legally.
Street and highway names have been changed to Russian names and schools have been forced to adopt the Russian curriculum, along with the circulation of Russian money and passports.
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Meanwhile, in a new round of sanctions, Japan on Friday announced an export ban on dozens of items to Russia, including water cannon systems, tear gas, explosives, X-ray inspection equipment and robots.
In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Tokyo’s decisions “bring us nothing terrible.”
And in the most recent example of the Kremlin’s crackdown on the media, Russia’s Attorney General’s Office declared Meduza, a popular Russian independent news channel, as an “undesirable” organization in Russia.
The move is designed to force entities to cease operations in Russia, and it puts staff and financial donors at risk of prosecution and long prison terms.
On Thursday, the prosecutor’s office said Meduza “poses a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation.”
The European Union condemned the move. “This decision shows that it is not enough for the Russian authorities to spread manipulative information about Russia’s war against Ukraine,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. “They also want to prevent independent media from giving the Russian public access to fact-based information about this war.”
While Moscow remained on a war footing, regions in Ukraine continued to experience emergency blackouts on Friday after the latest string of Russian airstrikes on Thursday.
Ukrenergo, the state’s power grid operator, said the rocket attacks knocked out electricity around Kiev, the capital, as well as the city of Kharkiv in the northeast and Lviv in the west. Ukrainian officials said Thursday’s attack killed at least 11 people and injured 11 others.
Russia’s defense ministry said on Friday that its forces hit Ukraine’s infrastructure in Thursday’s drone strike and a “massive missile strike” from the air and sea. The ministry said the attacks had disrupted the “transport of weapons and ammunition”, including weapons supplied by NATO countries such as the United States.
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Former President Donald Trump, posting on his Truth Social platform, claimed that the war “never would have happened” had he been president, boasting, “Even now, as president, I could negotiate an end to this horrible and rapid escalating war within 24 hours.”
Asked about those comments, Peskov said Friday that the United States and its allies have no interest in peace. Peskov claimed Washington had a “key” to ending the war because it could tell Kiev to stop fighting. “We now see that the current White House leader does not want to use this key,” Peskov said. “On the contrary, he chooses to keep pumping Ukraine with weapons.”