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BREAKING MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces the annexation of four Ukrainian regions

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#AceBreakingNews – President Vladimir Putin has annexed four regions of Ukraine following a series of votes Kyiv and the West have denounced as illegal, sham referendums.

Vladimir Putin speaks at podium with Russian flags behind him.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says people in Ukraine’s territories “have made their choice” to join Russia.(Reuters: Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik)none

In a major speech on Friday, Mr Putin said Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia would be folded into Russia: ” This is the will of millions of people,” he said in a speech before hundreds of dignitaries at the Kremlin.

“People have made their choice at referendums in Ukraine’s territories,” he said.

“There are four new regions of Russia.”

Mr Putin said the people living in the annexed regions were now Russian “compatriots forever”.

He accused Kyiv of threatening people who took part in the referendums with “repression” and warned “Kyiv should respect the will of the people”.

“We will defend our land with all means … we will work to increase security in [the] new regions,” he said.

Donetsk and Luhansk on a map.
The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) are Russian-controlled portions of two larger Ukrainian regions. (Foreign Correspondent: Emma Machan)none

Putin uses speech to criticise US

Mr Putin vowed to defend Russia’s “homeland and values” while presenting a long list of grievances against the West.

He accused the United States and its allies of waging a “hybrid war” against Russia and the separatist administrations Russia backed in eastern Ukraine.

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

The Russian leader urged Ukraine to cease military action and return to the negotiating table. 

Symbolic signing of ‘treaties’

The annexed regions’ pro-Moscow administrators signed treaties to join Russia during the ceremony, which took place in front of hundreds of assembled dignitaries in the Kremlin’s ornate St George’s Hall.

Before announcing the annexation, Mr Putin on Friday issued decrees recognising the independence of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, which he had done in February for Luhansk and Donetsk and earlier for Crimea.

Ukraine has repeated its vows to recapture the four regions, as well as Crimea.

Russia has repeatedly warned it would defend all its territory — including newly annexed regions — by all available means, including nuclear weapons.

Ahead of Mr Putin’s proclamation, the Kremlin said that attacks against any part of the swathe of Ukraine that was to be annexed would be considered aggression against Russia itself.

It added that Russia would fight to take the whole of the eastern Donbas region

Asked by reporters if an attack by Ukraine on the territories Russia is claiming as its land would be considered an attack on Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It would not be anything else.”

Mr Putin said last week he was willing to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity”.

More to come; Russia stages referendum to justify annexation of Ukraine.

ABC/Wires

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Sept.30: 2022:

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