UKRAINE/RUSSIA: In a pompous Kremlin ceremony, a defiant Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s annexation of a large portion of Ukraine, assuring Moscow would succeed in its “special military operation” even as he faced a potentially serious new military setback.
Russia’s declaration of control over 15% of Ukraine, the largest annexation in Europe since World War Two, was roundly denounced as unlawful by Ukraine and Western nations. New sanctions were declared by the US, UK, and CA.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, declared that his nation had applied for fast-track membership in NATO and that he would not hold peace negotiations with Russia as long as Putin remained in power.
Putin’s statement occurred as Ukrainian forces surrounded Russian forces in one of the four districts being annexed, highlighting how tenuous Russia’s hold is on some of the lands it is claiming.
In one of his most vehemently anti-American speeches during his more than two decades in power, Putin made clear that he was prepared to continue the fight for a “greater historical Russia,” denounced the West as a foe, and falsely claimed that Washington and its allies had blown up the Nord Stream gas pipelines.
However, American President Joe Biden claimed that it “was an intentional act of sabotage and now the Russians are pouring out disinformation and lies,” adding that Washington and its partners would send divers to find out what happened.
Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, the four Ukrainian provinces that Putin said Russia was acquiring, had made a historic decision.
“They have decided to stand with their people, their nation, accept its fate, and experience victory alongside it. The facts are on our side. Russia is on our side!” In one of the Kremlin’s largest halls, where the political elite of his nation had assembled to witness him sign the annexation documents,” Putin made the announcement.
Russian-organized “referendums” were criticised as illegal and coercive by the governments of Kyiv and the West.
He continued, “The Kyiv regime must immediately cease hostilities and return to the negotiating table. We will defend our land with all our power and all our means.”
NATO’s bid for Ukraine
Zelensky declared in Ukraine that he was only willing to engage in negotiations for peace if and when Russia had a new leader.
In addition, he stated that Ukraine was formally applying for NATO’s fast-track membership, something that Moscow vehemently opposes. He also charged Russia with redrawing borders “using murder, blackmail, mistreatment, and lies.”
The idea of coexisting with Russia “on equal, honest, dignified, and fair terms,” he added, was one that Kyiv remained dedicated to.
“It is obvious that it is not conceivable under this Russian president. He doesn’t understand what honour and integrity are. We are therefore prepared for a conversation with Russia, but with a different Russian president,” added Zelensky.
By dropping two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, the United States established a precedent, according to Putin, who refrained from making new nuclear warnings against Ukraine, despite doing so frequently in recent weeks.
Despite what he called Putin’s “loose talk,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the United States had not yet observed Russia taking any actions that suggested it was considering using nuclear weapons.
Putin, 69, chanted “Russia! Russia!” as he clutched the hands of the Russian-backed politicians he wants to lead the annexed regions after the ceremony’s conclusion.
New U.S. sanctions, according to Biden, would harm those who supported the annexation effort financially or politically.
Biden promised in a statement that the United States would keep providing Ukraine with weapons so that it could defend itself. “We will rally the international community to both denounce these moves and hold Russia accountable,” he added.
The head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, accused Putin of inciting “the most serious escalation” of the conflict since Russia started its invasion on February 24. However, he added that Putin would not be able to stop the alliance from backing Kyiv.
Invoking its veto, Russia on Friday blocked a resolution that the United States and Albania had submitted to the UN Security Council denouncing Russia’s stated annexation of portions of Ukraine.
All the supply channels to the Russian bastion, according to Ukraine, are in the east’s sights of its artillery, and Moscow was urged to appeal to Kyiv if it wished to let its men leave.
The encirclement might provide Ukrainian forces with a clear path to retake territory in the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk that they had previously taken during some of the fiercest fightings in the war.
In a Friday night video message, Zelenskiy stated, “We have tremendous successes in the east of our country…everyone has heard what is occurring in Lyman.”
Just hours before Putin’s speech, missiles struck a convoy of civilian vehicles attempting to cross the frontline from Ukrainian-held territory in the province of Zaporizhzhia. This attack served as further evidence of the brutality of the war.