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Vladimir Putin says people of Ukraine-occupied regions are 'our citizens forever'

Putin signs decree to annex parts of Ukraine: Ukraine and its allies in the West have vowed never to recognize the annexation, calling it a blatant violation of Kyiv’s sovereignty. Russia’s Parliament is expected to ratify the treaties next week, after which the four regions will formally become part of Russia. 

  • Vladimir Putin has said that the people of Ukraine-occupied regions are 'our citizens forever'
  • Putin also signed off on the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions
  • Russia’s Parliament is expected to ratify the treaties next week
  • After that, the four regions will formally become part of Russia

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Vladimir Putin says people of Ukraine-occupied regions are 'our citizens forever'

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned the West that the people of four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions are "our citizens forever" as he prepared to formally annex them at a Kremlin ceremony. "I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West that people living in the Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia (regions) are becoming our citizens forever," Putin said, adding that they had made an "unambiguous choice" to join Russia.

Putin then signed off on the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian regions on Friday in one of the most significant turning points yet in the seven-month war on Kyiv. Putin confirmed the annexation of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as the southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions in a televised ceremony in the Grand Kremlin Palace's St. George's Hall.

Will defend our land using all means: Putin

“We will defend our land with all the means we have available to us,” Putin told the room filled with hundreds of officials, including the occupied regions’ Moscow-installed leaders.

"Russia is ready to return to the negotiating table with Ukraine. But Moscow will not discuss the results of the referendums in the liberated territories," Vladimir Putin said in the grand ceremony.

Vladimir Putin also launched a passionate defence of Russia's action and accused the West of trying to colonise Russia. Speaking about the use of nuclear weapons in the newly annexed regions, Putin said the United States is the only country to have used nuclear weapons twice, creating a precedent.

Russia’s Parliament is expected to ratify the treaties next week, after which the four regions will formally become part of Russia. The land grab takes place seven months into Moscow’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, a campaign that has been marked by repeated military setbacks including the failure to take in the first months of the war and a rapid retreat from northeastern Ukraine earlier this month.

Ukraine and its allies in the West have vowed never to recognize the annexation, calling it a blatant violation of Kyiv’s sovereignty.

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