Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed treaties to formally incorporate four Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Kherson, Lugansk, and Zaporizhzhia – at a grand ceremony in the Kremlin.
The ceremony followed discredited referendums in the Russian-occupied regions, which have been slammed as a “sham” by the international community.
“This is the will of millions of people,” said Putin in a speech before hundreds of dignitaries in the St George’s Hall of the Kremlin.
“People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots forever.”
At a ceremony that Kyiv called a “Kremlin freak show” devoid of legal meaning, Putin delivered a 37-minute diatribe against the West, accusing it of “sheer Satanism”, before signing the treaty documents with the Russian-backed heads of the four entities.
They then all clasped hands and chanted “Russia! Russia!” in unison with hundreds of dignitaries, who rose in a standing ovation.