Putin urges Kiev to stop military actions in annexation speech

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday presided over a ceremony at the Kremlin to annex four Ukrainian regions partly occupied by his forces. Putin signed treaties to annex Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia at a grand ceremony.

He then joined hands with the Moscow-installed heads of the regions on a stage in front of the Russian elite and chanted alongside them “Russia! Russia!”.

Putin annexed the regions despite warnings from the West and the fact that Moscow’s forces do not control the entirety of the regions. The long-time Russian leader said the people of the regions had made an “univocal choice” to join Russia after so-called referendums that Moscow organized. “I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West: People living in the Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia (regions) are becoming our citizens forever,” he said.

The West and international organizations did not recognize the voting, which was organized after Russia seized the territories by force. In a speech before signing the treaties, Putin demanded that Kyiv stop all military action.

“We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately stop fighting and stop all hostilities… and return to the negotiating table.”

Putin, who turns 70 next week, sent troops to Ukraine in February. Last week, he announced a mobilization to prop up Russian forces fighting in Ukraine who have suffered heavy losses in recent months.

Source: Daily Sabah

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