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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced four regions of Ukraine are now part of Russia in a deranged speech. The Russian leader said it was the choice of those who voted in referendums held in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Western governments and Kyiv have said the votes breached international law and were coercive and unrepresentative.
Putin, speaking in the Kremlin, said: “We had referendums. The results have come through and the results are known. People have made their choice and it is a definitive choice. Today were are siging the decree on accepting [Luhansk, Donetsk,] Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. I am sure the Federal Assembly will support the laws of creating four new subjects of the Russian Federation because this is the will of millions of people.”
The opening to Putin’s speech was met by applause before he continued: “And of course, this is their right. Their integral right which is emphasised in the principles of the United Nations. It’s the self-determination of people. It’s the right that is based on the historical unity which was defended by generations of our people. People who for generations protected Russia… Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought in the wars.
“People who did not agree with the military coup in 2014, people who gave their lives for the right to keep theur beliefs, their language, it’s the people of Donbas, these are victims of inhumane terrorist attacks conducted by the Kyiv regime. These are peaceful citizens, children, grandmothers, Russians, Ukrainians, people of various ethnic origins.”
Putin went on to name service personnel who had died in what Russia calls a “special military operation”.
He said: “They’re heroes of the great Russia.”
There followed a minute’s silence before Putin continued: “The choice of people of [Luhansk, Donetsk,] Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, what’s behind that is our common history.
“Despite all the difficulties they have carried through this love for Russia and this feeling cannot be exterminated by anyone.
“That’s why the older generations and the younger people who were born after the tragedy of the destruction of the Soviet Union, they wanted the unity in 1991. There was a decision by representatives of the party to dissolve the USSR. This has destroyed the connections between different parts of our country and the last heads of the Soviet Union went against the will of the people of the Soviet Union and broke that country into smaller countries. They just informed the people about that without asking them.
“We accept that they probably did not accept what they were doing and they did not understand the consequences this would lead to, but this is not important anymore.
“For Russia we don’t need this anymore. But there is nothing stronger than the decisive will of millions of people who, according to their culture, to their language, believe they are part of Russia.”
More to follow…
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