“I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West: People living in Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens forever,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin staged a grand ceremony in Moscow on September 30 to celebrate the annexation of four “historical territories”, while Kyiv pushed for expedited NATO membership.
Mr. Putin was defiant during his address to Russia’s political elite, telling the West that the internationally condemned manoeuvre was irreversible and urging Ukraine to negotiate a surrender.
“I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West: People living in Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens forever,” Mr. Putin said. “We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately stop fighting and stop all hostilities… and return to the negotiating table.” The packed hall erupted into chants of “Russia! Russia” after the deal was inked.
U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the Friday’s ceremony in Moscow as a “sham routine” and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg slammed the annexation as “illegal and illegitimate” but remained non-committal after Ukraine said it was applying to join the Western alliance. The United States and Canada voiced support for Ukraine’s membership but steered clear of promises to fast-track it.
In Moscow, at least 10,000 people convened for state-organised annexation celebrations, with huge banners emblazoned: “Donetsk. Lugansk. Zaporizhzhia. Kherson. Russia!”
“I’m happy if they want to join Russia,” Natalya Bodner, a 37-year-old lawyer told AFP. “They have more hope than we do”. The four territories create a crucial land corridor between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Russia on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the annexation of the regions, while China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstained.