Putin officially declares that the Ukrainian regions in the largest land grab since World War II are Russia, fueling fears of nuclear weapons

Vladimir Putin has officially declared that four regions in Ukraine are now Russian in the biggest land grab since World War II.

The tyrant is hosting a grand signing ceremony at the Kremlin today to welcome Ukraine’s four stolen regions to Russia as his seven-month war enters a horrifying new phase.

Vladimir Putin has declared four Ukrainian regions as Russian

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Vladimir Putin has declared four Ukrainian regions as RussianPhoto credit: RT
Russians with flags approach Red Square in Moscow to celebrate the land grab

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Russians with flags approach Red Square in Moscow to celebrate the land grabPhoto credit: Reuters
People gather in central Moscow ahead of a rally and concert in Red Square

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People gather in central Moscow ahead of a rally and concert in Red SquarePhoto credit: AFP

After a series of sham referendums, Putin will officially issue decrees declaring Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia to be Russian territories.

The ruthless land grab was made official in a signing ceremony in the Georgievsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace – although Putin was late for the huge gathering of his cronies.

In a speech, Putin said: “People have made their choice – and that choice is beyond doubt.”

He held a minute’s silence for the “Heroes of Russia”.

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A stage with huge video screens was set up in Moscow’s Red Square for the ridiculous celebrations, where a pop concert was to be held.

Russians were seen waving flags as they gathered ahead of the rally in the Russian capital.

The four annexed regions cover about 90,000 square kilometers or about 15 percent of Ukraine – about the size of Hungary or Portugal.

Posters all over Moscow declared: “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson – Russia!”

Putin’s outrageous move has fueled fears that he could launch a nuclear strike to protect his so-called Russian territory.

As fierce Ukrainian troops push his forces back into the country’s northeast, there are concerns the tyrant will now attempt to reframe the Blitz counteroffensive as an assault on Russia’s sovereignty.

He warned that Russia is ready to use “all the means at our disposal” to counter potential threats to its territory.

The Kremlin said any attack on newly annexed parts of Ukraine would be considered an attack on Russia itself – adding its troops would fight to take the entire eastern Donbass region.

And there are growing concerns that Ukrainians living in Russian-controlled areas will be conscripted to fight in Putin’s war.

Putin will meet with leaders of the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, as well as Russian-installed leaders of his troops-held parts of Kherson and Zaporizhia.

On Wednesday, pro-Kremlin officials said all four regions voted to join Russia.

Footage emerged of voters being led to the polls at gunpoint by pro-Russian paramilitary groups while election officials appeared to be counting stacks of unmarked ballots as “yes” votes.

Another video shows thugs installed by Russia taking ballot boxes from door to door, surrounded by armed men.

Putin’s cronies claimed that 99 percent of ballots cast in Donetsk were for joining Russia, 98 percent in Luhansk, 93 percent in Zaporizhia and 87 percent in Kherson.

After the referendums, the Kremlin warned “that the legal situation will change radically from the point of view of international law and that this will also have consequences for security in these areas”.

The annexation of the regions gives Putin more room to argue that his “military special operation” in Ukraine is now a defensive exercise.

But the farce referendums have been declared illegal by the majority of the international community.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said it was a “dangerous escalation” that would hurt future prospects for peace.

US President Joe Biden said the US would never recognize Russia’s claims to Ukraine’s territory.

“The results were made in Moscow,” Biden said.

The US and EU will impose further sanctions on Russia over the annexation, and even some of Russia’s allies, such as Serbia and Kazakhstan, have said they will not recognize the takeover.

Prime Minister Liz Truss said Britain will never accept Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions as part of Russia.

She said: “Vladimir Putin has once again violated international law and clearly disregarded the lives of the Ukrainian people he claims to represent.

“The UK will never ignore the sovereign will of these people and we will never accept the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions as anything other than Ukrainian territory.

“Putin must not be allowed to alter international borders with brute force. We will make sure he loses this illegal war.”

In response to the sham referendums, Zelenskyy called an emergency meeting of his National Security and Defense Council on Friday.

“It can still be stopped. But to stop it, we have to stop this person in Russia who wants war more than life. Your lives, citizens of Russia,” he said in an address to the nation Thursday night.

Mikhailo Podolyak, Zelensky’s adviser, told La Repubblica: “Referendums have no legal value, under international law the regions are and will remain territories of Ukraine and Ukraine is ready to do everything to retake them.

“These were sham elections in which only a few took part.

“They pointed their guns in the face of those who went to vote.”

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6337530/putin-officially-declares-ukrainian-regions-are-russian/ Putin officially declares that the Ukrainian regions in the largest land grab since World War II are Russia, fueling fears of nuclear weapons

DevanCole

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