President Vladimir Putin officially confirmed the annexation of four occupied Ukrainian regions during a speech. These are Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk. “There are four new Russian regions. This is the will of millions of people.”
According to Putin, the regions are mainly home to Russians who have fought for Russia. He says the residents there were “held hostage” by the “cruel Ukrainian government”.
Putin also believes that many people were separated from the “motherland” against their will much earlier when the Soviet Union collapsed, “including in these areas”. Putin therefore sees the inhabitants “as part of our people”. The president claims he is not interested in a return of the Soviet Union.
The Russian president asks his Ukrainian counterpart to stop the counter-offensive against the territories. Instead, Putin wants to return to the negotiating table. That chance seems nil at the moment, given the success of the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Kyiv confirmed earlier today that they are continuing their liberation plans. There will be a summit on this today. “We will protect the areas with all our resources,” Putin warns. He also criticizes the attitude of the West, which offers Ukraine full support: “You are afraid of Russian culture.”
Kremlin does not yet clear borders of occupied provinces
Earlier in the day, the Kremlin released a statement detailing the national borders it wants to maintain for Donetsk and Luhansk. It concerns the entire provinces, or the borders that the self-proclaimed people’s republics themselves indicated in 2014.
The areas were already not in complete hands of the separatists. Putin nevertheless wants to stick to the limits set in 2014. For Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, the boundaries have yet to be established.
“We regard attacks on those regions as attacks on Russian territory,” the Kremlin warned. In short, it is a reminder that Putin can deploy additional resources in attacks on his country. Military experts have therefore been warning of a nuclear threat for weeks. According to the Kremlin, that is not the case.
Kremlin held mock referendums on Russia joining
Mock referendums were held in the four regions last week. People were forced to vote on joining Russia and the outcome was already determined: the areas were almost exclusively left with ethnic Russians.
The West, including major powers such as the United States, has indicated that it does not recognize the outcome of the referenda. Putin has a very different view. “People have made their choice and it is final.”
NU.nl is currently holding a question hour with defense expert Ko Colijn. He gives text and explanation about what the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territories means. You can ask questions here.
Source: NU by www.nu.nl.
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