On Friday, President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia is “forever” annexing four of the occupied regions of Ukraine and issued repeated threats that Moscow would employ all available means to defend the areas.
Members of the European Union “unequivocally” opposed the action in a united statement. As a “flagrant breach of the UN Charter and the basic values of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” US President Joe Biden condemned Russia’s initiatives.
The United Nations and numerous other world leaders have denounced the most recent annexation referendum as unlawful and dishonest. A “moment of peril” was described by UN leader Antonio Guterres.
Putin encouraged Kyiv to put down its weapons and negotiate an end to the seven months of the war when he was in Moscow.
Hours prior to the grand celebration at the Kremlin, which marked a turning point in recent post-Soviet history and was one of the deadliest attacks against civilians in recent memory, shelling in the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia claimed the lives of 25 people.
In his speech to Russia’s political elite, Putin was uncompromising, reminding the West that the land grab, which has taken up nearly 20% of Ukrainian territory, is inevitable and urging the empowered army of Ukraine to surrender and seek a settlement.
He declared, “People living in Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens for all time. I want to convey this to the Kyiv dictatorship and its masters in the West.
“We demand that the Kyiv regime end all violence immediately and return to the negotiating table.”
After the four leaders signed the agreement, the crowded room burst into chants of “Russia! Russia,” and Putin—rarely seen making physical contact since the pandemic—joined hands with his proxy leaders and was shown chanting along in unison on national television.
The Russian president had previously threatened to use nuclear weapons to maintain control over the region, but Kyiv had insisted that the action would not change its intention to drive out Russian soldiers.
The US declared it would “never” acknowledge Russian dominance in the regions.
Sanctions Don’t Phase Putin
In reaction to Putin’s most recent statement, Washington on Friday increased its extensive sanctions against Russia against hundreds of individuals and organizations, including members of the Russian parliament, military, and central bank.
According to the US Treasury Department, sanctions were put in place against 278 members of the Russian legislature, two leaders of the central bank, 14 members of the Russian military-industrial complex, and family members of top officials “for supporting Russia’s sham referendum and attempt to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory.”
Additionally, the Treasury sent instructions warning of increased sanctions risk to anyone living outside of Russia should they offer financial or political support to Moscow.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated in a statement, “We will not sit idly by as Putin fraudulently attempts to acquire parts of Ukraine.
The deputy prime minister of Russia, Alexander Novakand 278 lawmakers were among those targeted of sanctions by the United States on Friday.
The US Commerce Department is expanding its US export blacklist by 57 firms in a related move.
It said that organizations in other nations that send forbidden technologies and other products to serve the military and industrial sectors of Russia and Belarus might be subject to US export restrictions.