Russia laying groundwork for annexing Ukraine territory - White House

John Kirby also said the US in the next few days will announce a new weapons package for Ukraine as it engages Russia in fierce battles in eastern Ukraine.

A man cleans an area of a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine July 11, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/NACHO DOCE)
A man cleans an area of a residential building damaged by a Russian military strike, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine July 11, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/NACHO DOCE)

Russia is laying the groundwork for the annexation of Ukrainian territory and is installing illegitimate proxy officials in areas there under its control, the White House said on Tuesday.

Unveiling what he said was US intelligence, John Kirby, the chief National Security Council spokesman, told a White House news briefing that the Russians are preparing to install proxy officials, establish the rouble as the default currency and force residents to apply for citizenship.

Russia is also attempting to take control of broadcasting towers, he said.

US response

 Smoke rises after a missile strike, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine in this screen grab taken from a handout video released July 16, 2022. (credit: State National Police of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS) Smoke rises after a missile strike, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine in this screen grab taken from a handout video released July 16, 2022. (credit: State National Police of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

At the same time, Kirby said the United States in the next few days will announce a new weapons package for Ukraine as it engages Russia in fierce battles in eastern Ukraine.

It will be the 16th such drawdown of money approved by Congress and allocated under presidential authority, he said.

The package is expected to include US mobile rocket launchers, known as HIMARS and rounds for Multiple Launch Rocket Systems as well as artillery munitions, sources said.