A defiant Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russia’s annexation of a swathe of Ukraine in a pomp-filled Kremlin ceremony, promising Moscow would triumph in its “special military operation” in opposition to Kyiv whilst a few of his troops confronted potential defeat.
The Russian president’s proclamation of Russian rule over 15% of Ukraine – the largest annexation in Europe since World War Two – was roundly rejected by Western nations, with the United States and Britain asserting new sanctions.
It comes as Russian forces in one of many 4 areas being annexed face being encircled by Ukrainian troops.
In one in every of his hardest anti-American speeches in additional than twenty years in energy, Putin signalled he was able to proceed what he known as a battle for a “greater historical Russia,” slammed the West as neo-colonial and as out to destroy his nation, and with out proof accused Washington and its allies of blowing up the Nord Stream gasoline pipelines.
The 4 Ukrainian areas that he mentioned Russia was absorbing had made a historic selection, he mentioned.
“They have made a choice to be with their people, their motherland, to live with its fate, and to triumph with it. Truth is on our side. Russia is with us!” Putin informed his nation’s political elite, who had gathered in one of many Kremlin’s grandest halls to observe him signal the annexation paperwork.
“People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots forever.”
“We will defend our land with all our strength and all our means,” he added, calling on “the Kyiv regime to immediately cease hostilities and return to the negotiation table”.
Putin mentioned the United States had set a precedent when it had dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, however stopped wanting issuing new nuclear warnings in opposition to Ukraine himself, one thing he has carried out greater than as soon as in current weeks.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned the United States had not but seen Russia take any motion that instructed it’s considering the usage of nuclear weapons, regardless of what he known as Putin’s “loose talk”.
The annexation ceremony culminated in Putin, 69, chanting “Russia! Russia!” as he clasped the palms of the Russian-backed officers he desires to run the annexed areas, which Ukraine is combating to win again.
Thousands of individuals, a few of them clutching Russian flags, then packed into Moscow’s Red Square to listen to celebratory pop music. Putin informed the gang: “Victory will be ours!”
Ukraine NATO bid
US President Joe Biden mentioned new US sanctions would damage those that supplied political or financial help to the annexation drive.
“We will rally the international community to both denounce these moves and to hold Russia accountable. We will continue to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, undeterred by Russia’s brazen effort to redraw the borders of its neighbour,” Biden mentioned in an announcement.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg accused Putin of upsetting “the most serious escalation” of the warfare because it started on Feb 24, however mentioned he wouldn’t achieve deterring the alliance from supporting Kyiv.
In Ukraine, President Volodymr Zelenskiy mentioned he was solely prepared for peace talks if and when Russia received a brand new president.
He additionally introduced that Ukraine was formally making use of for fast-track membership of NATO, one thing Moscow fiercely opposes, and accused Russia of redrawing borders “using murder, blackmail, mistreatment and lies”.
He mentioned nevertheless that Kyiv remained dedicated to the thought of co-existence with Russia “on equal, honest, dignified and fair conditions”.
“Clearly, with this Russian president it is impossible. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia,” Zelenskiy mentioned.