The United States strongly condemns the annexation of Ukrainian regions by Russia and announces new sanctions

“The United States unequivocally rejects Russia’s fraudulent attempt to change Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to CNN.

In response to Russia’s action, the State Department will impose visa restrictions on 910 people, including members of the Russian military, Belarusian military officials and “Russian intermediaries involved in violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

“We will hold accountable any person, entity or country that provides economic and political support to Russia’s illegal attempts to change the status of the Ukrainian territory”, continued Antony Blinken, emphasizing that the message of the United States is supported by the other nations of the G7 Group.

President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia and called on the Ukrainian army to stop belligerent actions, threatening a military response with strategic weapons. “The people have made an unequivocal choice. We will form four new regions of the Russian Federation, because this is the will of millions of people. It is a right of the inhabitants, based on an article of the UN Charter, which refers to the right of peoples to self-determination. We sign today an agreement on the integration of these regions within the Russian Federation,” said Vladimir Putin, according to the publications Le Figaro and Le Monde, referring to the referendums organized by the pro-Russian separatist authorities, which are not recognized by the United Nations or the West .

Vladimir Putin signaled the availability of the resumption of peace negotiations with Ukraine, but emphasized that the status of the annexed regions “will not be the subject of discussions”, as “they have made a definitive choice”. “The Ukrainian army must stop the hostilities immediately. We will protect our territories by all possible means and we will do everything to guarantee the security of our population,” drew Vladimir Putin’s attention.

The European Union condemned Russia’s decision to “illegally” annex the regions of southeastern Ukraine and announced that it will never recognize this action.

Ukraine will request integration into the North Atlantic Alliance through a quick procedure, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as a reaction to Russia’s decision to annex four Ukrainian regions. “We are taking decisive action by signing a request for Ukraine’s candidacy for accelerated integration into the North Atlantic Alliance,” said Volodymyr Zelensky, quoted by Le Monde daily. “De facto, we have already opened our way to NATO, we have demonstrated compatibility with the Alliance’s standards. (…) And now Ukraine wants this in a formal way as well”, stressed Volodymyr Zelenski.

Russia firmly opposes Ukraine’s admission to NATO, and Kiev’s aspirations for integration into the Alliance were one of the reasons cited by Moscow for launching the military invasion.

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