Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed an order that will officially, in Russia’s view, annex four Ukrainian regions under the rule of the Russian Federation.
The signing ceremony held at the Georgievsky Hall of the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow took place just days after referenda concluded in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions which allegedly showed overwhelming support in favor of seceding from Ukraine.
“The people have made their choice,” he began his speech according to a translation by a Financial Times reporter.
“This is the will of millions,” Putin said, declaring residents of the territories Russian citizens.
Putin vowed that Russia will now use “all available means” to guard the annexed territory in Ukraine and suggested Moscow could use any attack in the war torn region – where fighting has raged since February – to further escalate its aggressive tactics.
Russian proxies in the regions claimed to have garnered 87% of civilian support in Kherson, 93% in Zaporizhzhia, 98% in Luhansk and 99% in Donetsk.
Western officials have rejected the results and alleged they were falsified to serve the Kremlin’s political aims, mimicking similar steps taken in Crimea in 2014.
Putin paved the way for the annexation of Zaporizhizhia and Kherson earlier Friday by signing an executive order that recognized their “state sovereignty and independence.”
The move echoed steps Putin took in February in the lead up to the invasion when he “recognized” the independence of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday claimed the order followed the “will expressed by the people” and was done “in accordance with the generally accepted principles and norms of international law.”
In a statement posted to Telegram the ministry said Moscow was “recognizing and reaffirming the principle of equal rights and self-determination of the peoples as set forth in the United Nations Charter.”
However, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres on Thursday condemned Russia’s attempts to seize roughly 15% of Ukraine’s territory and said it was a “clear” violation of the U.N. Charter.
“Any annexation of a state’s territory by another state resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the principles of the UN Charter and international law,” he told reporters.
Putin is expected to meet with representatives from the LPR, DPR and Moscow-installed regional officials from Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Friday.
Just remember one thing anyone who wants to see the war be won by Ukraine.
it’s not how many people you shoot to win, it’s who you shoot that matters.
As in cut the head of the snake off and the body dies.
I can understand (while I disagree with) the sentiment some may have for re-assembling the Soviet Union. I know some Russians (now naturalized U.S. citizens) who think Gorby was terrible and hated the break-up of the Soviet Union. But if that is Putin’s goal (which it obviously is) he should negotiate with the leaders of the now independent republics and work toward consensus on a case-by-case basis. International law explicitly forbids the kind of expansion by military conquest Putin is now pursuing. The UN is a useless, international debating society.
A map showing the regions annexed would be helpful.
I think this is going to work for you this time Valdi Ukraine is going to kick your Russians asses out of Ukraine It will not be like Crimea They are going to take back what belongs to them and threats of nukes will be the total downfall of Russia but that is fine People will be able to ice skate on your grave Putin