Putin Formally Announces Annexation of Four Ukrainian Regions, Hits Out at 'Satanic' West

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four Ukraine regions on Friday. "I want the Kyiv authorities and their real masters in the West to hear me. For everyone to remember. People living in Luhansk and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens. Forever," said Putin during the annexation ceremony on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin with the members of annexed regions Screengrab

Putin Signed Annexation Documents

Putin signed the formal annexation documents along with the leaders of the Ukrainian territories being seized by Russia. The leaders of the Ukrainian regions were appointed by Russia.

During the speech, Putin also criticized Western society, calling it satanic. The West has turned away from traditional" and "religious" values, according to Putin.

Once the process is officially complete, Moscow will recognize four Ukrainian regions as Russian territory: Luhansk and Donetsk – home to two Russian-backed breakaway republics where fighting has been ongoing since 2014 – as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, two areas in southern Ukraine that have been occupied by Russian forces since shortly after the invasion began, according to CNN.

Russia Appointed Officials Of Ukrainian regions Were Present

Putin delivered the speech in the presence of hundreds of officials and other dignitaries, some in suits, some in military uniforms, at a lavish ceremony under the giant, gold chandeliers of Georgievsky Hall, in the Great Kremlin Palace, according to NBC News.

Calling the annexation illegal, the European Council has condemned Russia's annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia.

The council said in a statement: "By wilfully undermining the rules-based international order and blatantly violating the fundamental rights of Ukraine to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, core principles as enshrined in the UN Charter and international law, Russia is putting global security at risk. We will never recognize this illegal annexation. These decisions are null and void and cannot produce any legal effect whatsoever."

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