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Russia annexes regions of Ukraine.Ukraine applies for expedited NATO membership

On Red Square in central Moscow, screens show President Vladimir Putin addressing a rally and concert commemorating the annexation of four Russian-occupied regions: Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia.
Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP

A rebellious Vladimir Putin declared Russia’s annexation of the swath of Ukraine in a brilliant Kremlin ceremony, prompting Moscow to ‘special military operation’ against Kyiv, even as part of his army faced potential defeat. I promised to win.

The Russian president’s declaration that Russia would control 15% of Ukraine – the largest European annexation since World War II – was vehemently rejected by the West, with the US and UK announcing new sanctions.

Russia faces encirclement by Ukrainian forces in one of four annexed regions after Putin ordered massive mobilization to bring hundreds of thousands of Russians to the front .

In one of his toughest anti-U.S. speeches in more than two decades in power, Putin suggested he was ready to continue the fight for a “greater historical Russia.” He accused the West of being neocolonial and of trying to subvert his regime. He accused the country, and without evidence, Washington and its allies of blowing up the Nordstream gas pipeline.

The four regions of Ukraine that Russia intends to absorb have made historic choices, he said.

“They chose to live with their motherland, live with its destiny, and triumph. The truth is on our side. Russia is with us!” Putin said to watch him sign the annexation document. He told the political elite of his country assembled in one of the Kremlin’s grandest halls.

“People living in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions will forever be our compatriots,” Putin said, referring to the regions Russia said it would annex.

“We will do everything in our power to defend our homeland,” he said.

He said the US set a precedent by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, but did not go so far as to issue a new nuclear warning to Ukraine itself.

The ceremony culminated with the 69-year-old leader chanting “Russia! Russia!” When he takes the hand of a Russian-backed official, he wants to run the annexed territories that Ukraine is fighting to reclaim.

Thousands of people clutched Russian flags and packed Moscow’s Red Square to hear celebratory pop music.

“Victory is ours!” Putin told the crowd.

Ukraine NATO Bid

US President Joe Biden has condemned Russia’s “fraudulent attempt” to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory, and new US sanctions will punish those who provided political or economic support to the annexation movement. Said it hurt.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Putin to end the war he started, but Ukrainian President Volodym Zelensky says he is ready for peace talks only if Russia gets a new president He said that

He also announced that Ukraine has formally applied for early accession to the NATO military alliance, which Moscow has vehemently opposed, and that Russia has “used murder, extortion, abuse and lies” to open its borders. criticized for redrawing the

But he said Kyiv remains committed to the idea of ​​coexisting with Russia “on equal, honest, dignified and fair terms.”

“Obviously it is impossible with this Russian president. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but another president of Russia We are ready to have a dialogue with them,” Zelensky said.

Ukraine and Western countries condemned the referendums held by Moscow in four regions of Ukraine, which it said showed the majority would join Russia, but accused it of being an illegal pretense. Dozens of Ukrainians interviewed by Reuters last week said only those they called “Russian collaborators” voted, and most boycotted them.

The Russian army was almost surrounded

In the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, the Russian garrison in the town of Lyman was in serious trouble on Friday, with reports from both sides that Russian forces were nearly encircled.

Ukraine said it has all supply routes to Russia’s strongholds in the eastern artillery crosshairs, and told Russia that it would have to appeal to Kyiv if it wanted to allow its troops to leave the country.

The encirclement could pave the way for Ukrainian forces to gain more territory in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Retired General Ben Hodges, the former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, said what appeared to be a defeating development would further disrupt the Russian military’s already crippled logistic operations.

“There is a psychological side to this,” he said. “… it would be nice if this could lead to something else.”

sheets wrapped around the body

The brutality of war hit even harder in the hours before Putin’s speech. The missile hit a convoy of civilian vehicles preparing to cross the front line from Ukrainian territory in the Zaporizhzhya province.

Reuters has seen more than a dozen dead bodies in blown up cars at the scene of the massacre. Ukraine said 25 people were killed and 74 injured.

Ukrainian officials said it was a deliberate attempt by Russia to cut off the last link across the front. Moscow blamed Ukrainians.

The convoy converged in a parking lot near the Ukrainian-held capital of Zaporizhia, one of the territories Moscow said it would annex.

A crater was dug in the ground. The impact splattered the car full of belongings with debris. Reuters saw about a dozen bodies.

A plastic sheet was wrapped around the bodies of the woman and the young man in the green car. Her two bodies lay in a white minivan in front of another car. The corpse of an elderly woman lay next to shopping bags nearby.

A woman named Natalia said she and her husband were visiting their children in Zaporizhia and preparing to return to Russian territory.

“We survived. It’s a miracle,” she said, standing by the car with her husband.

– Reuters

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/475838/russia-annexes-ukrainian-regions-ukraine-applies-for-fast-tracked-nato-membership Russia annexes regions of Ukraine.Ukraine applies for expedited NATO membership

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