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Putin claims Russia has ‘four new regions’ at signing event – latest


Audio reveals Vladimir Putin to annex four Russian-held areas of Ukraine on Friday

Vladimir Putin has claimed Russia has “four new regions” in a speech in the Kremlin, before signing treaties to annex four Ukrainian regions, taking his war into an unpredictable new phase.

“This is the will of millions of people,” he told hundreds of dignitaries in the Kremlin. “People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots for ever.”

At a ceremony that Kyiv called a “Kremlin freak show” devoid of legal meaning, the Russian leader accused the West of “sheer Satanism”, before the Russian-backed heads of the four entities chanted “Russia! Russia!” in unison and a standing ovation.

Ukraine and Western governments said the referendums had been conducted at gunpoint and were bogus and illegitimate.

The United States and the head of the United Nations had all said the annexation ceremony would have no legal value.

Meanwhile, one of Russia’s main garrisons, in Lyman in eastern Ukraine, north of Donbas, has been surrounded, marking a potential big defeat for Moscow.

In Zaporizhzhia, at least 25 people were killed and 50 injured in a Russian missile strike on a humanitarian convoy.

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Ukrainian officials dismiss Putin’s claims

Ukrainian officials dismissed President Putin’s remarks, saying the future of Ukraine was being decided on the battlefield.

“We continue to work and liberate Ukrainian territories. And we don’t pay attention to those whose time to take pills has come,” said Andrii Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office.

“The army is working, Ukraine is united. Only moving forward.”

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Kyiv condemns ‘Kremlin freak show’

Kyiv dubbed the annexation ceremony “Kremlin freak show” devoid of legal meaning.

After a 37-minute diatribe against the West, in which Mr Putin accused it of “sheer Satanism”, he signed the treaty documents with the Russian-backed heads of the four entities.

They then all clasped hands and chanted “Russia! Russia!” in unison with the hundreds of dignitaries present, who rose in a standing ovation.

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Putin accuses US and allies of sabotaging gas pipelines

Putin directly accused the United States and its allies of blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines.

“The sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved onto sabotage,” he said. “It is hard to believe but it is a fact that they organised the blasts on the Nord Stream international gas pipelines.

“They began to destroy the pan-European energy infrastructure,” Putin said.

“It is clear to everyone who benefits from this. Of course, he who benefits did it.”

Putin blames Anglo Saxons for ‘explosion’ of Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Atlantic Sea

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Putin attacks West, accusing it of breaking promises to Russia

Presenting a long list of grievances against the West in his speech, Putin accused the United States and its allies of waging a “hybrid war” against Russia and the separatist administrations it backed in eastern Ukraine.

He said the West had broken its promises to Russia and had no moral right to talk about democracy, and that the countries of the West were acting as the imperialist states that they had “always been”.

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Putin’s speech: ‘We will defend out land with all our means’

These are extracts from President Putin’s speech, translated by Reuters:

“Referendums have taken place … their results are well-known.”

“People have made their choice … This is an inalienable right, which is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter.”

“People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots for ever.”

“We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately cease hostilities and return to the negotiation table.”

“We will defend our land with all our strength and all our means”.

“After the collapse of the USSR, the West decided that the world would forever have to put up with its dictates … the West expected that Russia would not be able to cope with such dictates and fall apart … but Russia has been reborn and strengthened.”

“The West continues to look for new chances to weaken and destroy Russia.”

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Citizens will be Russian for ever, claims Putin

Vladimir Putin told the top politicians gathered in the Kremlin: “People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots for ever.”

He claimed the people of the four annexed regions had chosen to “be with their people, the motherland”.

‘They’ll become Russian citizens forever’: Putin declares annexation of Ukraine’s regions

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Putin denounces ‘satanism’ of West and calls on Ukraine to lay down arms

Vladmir Putin has declared there are “four new regions of Russia” as he presided over a ceremony in the Kremlin to announce Moscow was claiming the Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson.

In a rambling speech, Putin called on Ukraine to lay down its arms and end a war “they began in 2014”. David Harding reports:

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Russia has four new regions, Putin claims at annexation event

Vladimir Putin has declared that Russia has “four new regions” in a speech in the Kremlin in which he outlined Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

“Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine” are part of one people, the Russian president claimed.

And he urged Ukraine to sit down for talks but warned that Moscow would not give up the newly incorporated regions.

In a speech from the Kremlin to hundreds of Russia’s top politicians, Putin said Russia would defend its new territory with all the means at its disposal, remarks that could signal an escalation in the conflict.

As he signed the documents, he declared it was “the will of the people”.

‘This is the will of the people’: Putin signs annexation of Ukraine’s regions to Russia

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Putin opens annexation ceremony

Vladimir Putin has opened a Kremlin ceremony to start the process of absorbing parts of Ukraine into Russia, defying international law. During the annexation ceremony in the Kremlin’s opulent white-and-gold St George’s Hall, the heads of the four regions of Ukraine will sign treaties for them to join Russia, in a sharp escalation of the seven-month conflict. The separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine have been backed by Moscow since declaring independence in 2014, weeks after the annexation of Ukraine‘s Crimean Peninsula.

The southern Kherson region and part of the neighboring Zaporizhzhia were captured by Russia soon after Putin sent troops into Ukraine on 24 February. Both houses of the Kremlin-controlled Russian parliament will meet next week to rubber-stamp the treaties for the regions to join Russia, sending them to Putin for his approval.

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Ukraine ‘encircling Russian units in Lyman stronghold’

A Ukrainian military operation is under way to encircle Russian forces in the area of the eastern stronghold of Lyman, and has all the logistics routes into the area under fire control, a military spokesperson has told the Suspilne public broadcaster.

“All the approaches and logistic routes of the enemy, through which they delivered ammunition and manpower, are in fact under fire control (of the Ukrainian army),” Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for eastern Ukrainian forces was quoted as saying.


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