Putin formalizes Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions
President Vladimir Putin on Friday formalized Russia’s annexation of the four regions of eastern Ukraine consulted by referendum in the name of the “right to self-determination of peoples”.
“It is the will of millions of people,” he said during an official ceremony attended by hundreds of dignitaries in the Hall of the Order of St. George in the Kremlin.
This proclamation, a sign of the Russian leader’s determination, came three days after the end of the referendums organized in the four regions concerned and unrecognized by the international community, which ended with a “yes” to the annexation of about 99%.
“The residents of Luhansk (Louhansk in the Ukrainian editor’s note) and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia will forever be our citizens,” Vladimir Putin underscored, adding that the population “unequivocally” voted for “a common future.”
“Four new Russian regions” would be created under agreements yet to be signed, he said.
Vladimir Putin, who was applauded several times, called on Ukraine, which was invaded by the Russian army on February 24, for a “ceasefire” and a return to the negotiating table.
“The Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore, we can’t go back to the past, but Russia doesn’t need it anymore, doesn’t need that anymore,” he said.
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