Russian President, Vladimir Putin has signed on Friday, the decreed annexing the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, after the pro-Russian separatists in these areas organized so-called referendums, defying the international community.
“Russia has four new regions. The results of the referendums are clear and known, people have chosen and the choice is final,” said Vladimir Putin, claiming that the incorporation of these four regions “is the will of millions of people” and is their “full right” as stated in the UN Charter.
“We ask Kiev to cease fire”, further said Putin. “We’re going to protect our people with all the means we have.”
The Russian president also warned that the West should remember “the people of Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporozhye become our citizens, forever.” “The West has decided to break up the Soviet Union, but we will not refer to this status-quo,” Putin said, arguing that he is “not looking” to go back in time and rebuild the Soviet Union, but claims there is “nothing stronger than the will of these people to return to their historical roots”.
Vladimir Putin repeated the statements he has made many times, that the West is trying to weaken Russia, claiming that the West has “double standards, triple standards.”
“They don’t want to see us a free society. They want to see us as a lot of slaves. (…) They just take us for fools. Russia is a great country and it is a great civilization and it will not continue to live under these false rules.”
“The destruction of this Western hegemony is irreversible, the world will never be the same again,” says Vladimir Putin. “And we are called by this history, by our faith to fight for historical Russia. For the sake of the great historical Russia, for future generations, for our children and grandchildren, we must protect them from these experiments that were aimed at breaking their soul and conscience,” he argued.
Russia claims about 109,000 square km of Ukrainian territory, or about 18 percent, in addition to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Putin’s announcement comes after Western leaders voiced harsh criticism of Russia, with the US president saying that the US will “never, never, never” accept the annexation of Ukrainian territories.
Also, the UN Security Council is to vote, on Friday, on a resolution to condemn the referendums, according to France, which currently holds the organization’s presidency. However, the resolution has no chance of passing the Russian veto.
The four leaders installed by the Kremlin in the Ukrainian regions gathered in Moscow on Friday before the ceremony.
The Kremlin has warned that it will consider attacks on any parts of the regions of Ukraine that it plans to annex later in the day as acts of aggression against Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that Russia would “de jure” incorporate portions of its territory that are not under the control of Russian forces as part of its move.
The four territories – Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south and Donetsk and Lugansk in the east – represent a land corridor that Russia has been keenly pursuing since 2014, when it illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimea. Together, the five territories account for around 20% of Ukrainian territory.
Zelensky retorts: Ukraine is applying for NATO membership
In retort to Russia’s annexing the illegally occupied territories form Ukraine, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, announced on Friday, after the meeting of the Security Council, that his country will apply for NATO membership.
NATO is to announce, on Friday evening, what is the response to the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories by the Russian Federation.