Another theory is that it was Putler who ordered the pipelines blown. He knows the war is lost, and risks being overthrown by internal forces. But those internal forces would need a peace offering to persuade The EU to persuade Ukraine to stop fighting for their liberation. He knows that the EU is resolved not to use the gas, and that the Norway/Denmark/Germany pipeline was rushed through to open last week, so his blackmail over “technical closures” is worthless. He risks that a new leader can offer to the EU to turn back on the gas for a ceasefire and peace talks. Blowing up the pipeline means no pretender to the throne can offer that as a peace offering, and that reduces the chance of being over thrown.
The annexation thing today is definitely to allow them to claim any attack on “Russia” (as newly enlarged) allows him to escalate.