Putin says Russia will defend newly annexed Ukraine regions by ‘all available means’

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed treaties to annex Ukraine’s occupied territories and said he would use “all available means” to defend the territory that Ukrainian and Western Officials said Russia was illegitimate and violating international law. ,

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In a speech before the treaty-signing ceremony, Putin urged Ukraine to sit down for talks to end the seven-month war after he ordered his troops to invade the neighboring country. But he warned that Russia would never give up the absorbed territories and would defend them as part of its sovereign territory.

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, ‘The United States will never – never, never recognize Russia’s claims on the sovereign territory of Ukraine.’ ,


— US President Joe Biden

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The ceremony came three days after the completion of a Kremlin-orchestrated “referendum” on joining Russia, which was dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a bare-faced land grab at gunpoint and based on lies .

Putin said Ukrainian officials should “treat with respect” the unilateral results of the Moscow-managed vote and sternly warned that Russia would never surrender control of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions.

Both houses of the Kremlin-controlled Russian parliament will meet next week to ratify treaties for the regions to join Russia, sending them to Putin for his approval.

Ukrainian officials rejected Putin’s remarks, saying Ukraine’s future was being decided on Ukraine’s battlefield.

“We continue to work and liberate Ukrainian territories. And we do not pay attention to those whose time has come to take the bullets,” said the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andrey Yermak. “The army is working, Ukraine is united. Just moving forward.”

US President Joe Biden, speaking in Washington at the US Pacific Island Country Summit on Thursday, said last weekend’s so-called referendum in Ukraine’s territories was “a sham” with results “made in Moscow”.

“The United States will never – never, never – recognize Russia’s claims on the sovereign territory of Ukraine,” Biden said.

George’s Hall in the Kremlin’s grand white-and-gold was held for Putin and the heads of Ukraine’s four regions to sign treaties to join Russia, a sharp escalation in the seven-month conflict. In.

The separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine have been backed by Moscow since its declaration of independence in 2014, weeks after Ukraine’s annexation of the strategic Crimean peninsula. On February 24, Russia occupied the southern Kherson region and part of neighboring Zaporizhzhya shortly after Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

From the archives (February 2022): Putin calls for international recognition of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine

Putin and his lieutenants have explicitly warned Ukraine against an aggressive pressure to reclaim the territories, Russia will see it as an act of aggression against its sovereign territory and will use “all available means” in retaliation. Would not hesitate to use, in the context of Russia nuclear arsenal.

The Kremlin-held vote and nuclear warning in Ukraine are an attempt by Putin to avoid further defeat in Ukraine that could threaten his 22-year rule.

Russia controls most of the Luhansk and Kherson regions, about 60% of the Donetsk region and a large part of the Zaporizhzhya region, where it took control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Asked about Russia’s plans, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at least Moscow aims to “liberate” the entire Donetsk region.

As it prepared to celebrate the inclusion of the occupied Ukrainian territories, the Kremlin was on the verge of another stinging battlefield loss, with reports of the imminent Ukrainian encirclement of the eastern city of Lyman.

Withdrawing it could open the way for Ukraine to push deeper into one of the regions that Russia is absorbing, a move that has been widely condemned as outlaws that could lead to a dangerous new seven-month war. Opens the stage.

Russia also targeted Ukrainian cities with missiles, rockets and suicide drones on Friday, in an attack that is reported to have killed 25 people. The salvos together amount to the heaviest barrage Russia has uncovered for weeks.

From the archives (March 2022): Letter from Kyiv: ‘This is what Putin doesn’t get: we are not Russians. We can stand up for ourselves. And we have our own history.

They followed warnings from analysts that Putin’s dwindling stock of precision weapons was likely to decline further and intensify attacks as part of a strategy to escalate the war to an extent that would be dangerous for Ukraine. Will break western support.

Ahead of its scheduled annexation ceremony on Friday, the Kremlin gave Ukraine another warning that it should not struggle to take back the four regions. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would view Ukraine’s attack on the occupied territory as aggression against Russia itself.

The annexation is Russia’s attempt to set its gains in stone, at least on paper, and scares Ukraine and its Western supporters with the prospect of an increasingly escalating conflict unless they back down – which they have no way of doing. do not show signs. The Kremlin sometimes led the way in land-grabbing with a “referendum” at gunpoint, which Ukraine and the Western powers universally dismissed as rigged.

“It looks quite pathetic. Ukrainians are doing something, stepping into the real physical world, while the Kremlin is creating some kind of virtual reality, unable to respond in the real world,” said the former Kremlin speech The author turned political analyst Abbas Galyamov said.

“People understand that politics is now a battlefield,” he said. “What is important is who moves forward and who retreats. In this sense, the Kremlin cannot offer anything comforting to the Russians.

A Ukrainian counter-offensive has deprived Moscow of mastery in military fields of war. Its hold on the Luhansk region appears to be increasingly destabilizing, as Ukrainian forces continue to infiltrate there, with pincer attacks on Lyman. Ukraine still has a big foothold in the neighboring Donetsk region.

Luhansk and Donetsk – torn apart after a declaration of independence by separatists in 2014 – form the wider Donbas region of eastern Ukraine that Putin has long vowed, but has so far failed to claim for Russia . Peskov said both Donetsk and Luhansk would be fully incorporated into Russia on Friday.

All of Kherson and parts of Zaporizhzhya, two other regions being prepared for occupation, were under new occupation at the initial stage of the invasion. It is not clear whether the Kremlin will declare all, or only a part, of that occupied territory as Russia. Peskov would not say anything in a conversation with reporters on Friday.

In the capital of the Zaporizhzhya region, anti-aircraft missiles, which Russia has repurposed as ground attack weapons, rained down on people who waited in cars to cross Russian-occupied territory on Friday So that they can bring family members back to the front lines, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said.

The general prosecutor’s office said 25 people were killed and 50 were injured. The strike left a deep impact crater and shrapnel ripped through the line-up vehicles of the humanitarian convoy, killing their passengers. Nearby buildings were demolished. Litter bags, blankets and, for one victim, a blood-soaked towel, were used to cover the body.

Russian-established officials in Zaporizhzhia blamed the Ukrainian military for the attack, but provided no evidence.

Russian attacks were also reported in the city of Dnipro. Regional governor Valentin Reznichenko said at least one person was killed and five others were injured.

Ukraine’s air force said the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Odessa were also targeted with Iranian-supplied suicide drones, which Russia has increasingly deployed in recent weeks, seemingly losing more pilots. To avoid those who do not have control over the skies of Ukraine.

Putin was expected to deliver a keynote speech at the ceremony to connect Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya to Russia. The Kremlin plans to sign annexation treaties for the region’s pro-Moscow administrators at the palace’s ornate St. George’s Hall in Moscow, Putin’s seat of power.

Putin also issued decrees recognizing the alleged independence of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions, which he had previously raised in February for Luhansk and Donetsk and earlier for Crimea, seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called an emergency meeting of his National Security and Defense Council and condemned the latest Russian attacks.

“The enemy is furious and wants to avenge our perseverance and his failures,” he posted on his Telegram channel. “You will certainly answer. For every Ukrainian life lost!”

The US and its allies have pledged even more sanctions on Russia and billions of dollars in additional support for Ukraine as the Kremlin copies the annexation playbook used for Crimea.

with…

Credit: www.marketwatch.com /

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