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30th Sep 2022

Putin declares four areas of Ukraine as Russia

April Curtin

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 30 (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Moscow-appointed heads of four Ukrainian regions, partially occupied by Russia, at the Grand Kremlin Palace on September 30, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. Separatist leaders of annexed Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions have arrived in Moscow to sign treaties to begin the process of absorbing parts of Ukraine into Russia. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)

Russians are apparently being paid to turn up to the celebrations

Vladimir Putin has claimed that Russia will take control of four regions of Ukraine, with global officials warning it marks a “dangerous escalation” in the war.

The Russian President held so-called referendums in Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson on Friday, which have been branded illegal by leaders around the world.

A timer was displayed on Russian state TV counting down to the event. Meanwhile, at least 25 civilians were killed and dozens injured in a Russian strike on a civilian convoy in in Zaporizhzhia.

Making at speech at the signing ceremony in Moscow, Putin said the people of the four Ukrainian regions he’s planning to annex have made their decision.

“The results are known, well known,” he said, “People made their choice – the only choice.”

The president said he wants everyone in Kyiv and the West to hear that those in the Donbas region will become Russian citizens forever, and that Kyiv authorities should “take this expression of will with great respect”.

He claimed the West is trying to take over Russia, honing in on the US and Britain. He also claimed the energy crisis has been created by “many years of wrong policies” that happened way before the war in Ukraine.

The president then signed the documents, before the audience applauded and chanted: “Russia! Russia! Russia!”

Speaking the day before the ceremony, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Putin’s plan marked a “dangerous escalation” that would jeopardise any hope of peace in the region.

He said: “Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned.

“The Russian Federation, as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, shares a particular responsibility to respect the Charter,” he added.

A celebration and concert is due to take place near Red Square in central Moscow this evening, with people reportedly being paid to attend.

The annexation documents will have to go through the Russian legal process of approval, which is expected to be complete by October 4. But the international community has already made it very clear the documents will not be recognised.

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