A stand has been erected at Red Square before the speech displaying the names of the regions to be annexed
Russia’s Vladimir Putin will hold a signing ceremony on Friday formally annexing four more areas of Ukraine after self-styled referendums condemned by Ukraine and the West as a sham.
Russian-backed officials had earlier claimed the five-day exercise secured almost total popular support.
So-called votes were held in Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south.
The Russian president will make a major speech at the Kremlin.
A stage has already been set up in Moscow’s Red Square, with billboards proclaiming the four regions as part of Russia. There were echoes of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, which also followed a discredited referendum and was heralded by a presidential victory speech from a stage.
However, no independent monitoring of the process took place and there were accounts of election officials going from door to door escorted by armed soldiers.
The US has said it will impose sanctions on Russia because of the referendums and EU member states are considering an eighth round of measures.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday that people in occupied regions of Ukraine had been taken from their homes and workplaces by threat and sometimes at gunpoint. “This is the opposite of free and fair elections. And this is the opposite of peace, it is a dictated peace,” she said.
The exercise began across 15% of Ukraine last Friday with only a few days’ notice. Russian state media argued that the use of armed guards was for security purposes but it was clear that it had the added effect of intimidating residents.
“You have to answer verbally and the soldier marks the answer on the sheet and keeps it,” one woman in Enerhodar told the BBC.
Russia does not fully control any of the four regions it has decided to annex. Although most of Luhansk remains in Russian hands, Moscow only controls 60% of Donetsk.
Seven months after Russian forces invaded Ukraine from the north, east and south, war is still raging on front lines in all four areas. The capital of the southern region of Zaporizhzhia is firmly under the control of Ukraine’s government, and a counter-offensive is under way in Kherson.