In a televised ceremony in the Kremlin’s St. George’s Hall. Putin declared the annexation of Ukraine’s four regions: Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk.
Putin called out Ukraine to put down their weapons and go down for negotiations in a confrontational 40-minute speech. Said, “People living in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are becoming our countrymen forever.”
“We will defend our land with all the means we have at our disposal.” He declared this in a room filled with hundreds of parliamentarians and government representatives. Including the occupied regions’ Moscow-installed leaders. He further claimed that the people have made their choice in a Russia-installed election. Authorities claim that a resounding majority of voters supported annexation.
Although the precise details of Russia’s annexation are still unknown, it appears that in addition to the Crimea that Russia seized in 2014. Russia is also claiming around 109,000 square kilometers of territory in Ukraine or nearly 18% of the total land area.
Putin would have annexed more than 22% of Ukraine, whose borders Russia recognized in a treaty after the demise of the Soviet Union, if Russia could establish authority over the entire territory it claims. This area is approximately 136,000 square kilometers (52,510 square miles).
Reaction from West and Ukraine
This significant move represents a major escalation in the war that starts with Russia’s invasion on February 24, which has been condemnes by Ukraine, Western nations, and the UN secretary-general.
The annexations and referendums have been condemnes as illegal and illegitimate by Ukraine and the West, which doesn’t seem to bother the Russian President.
Ukraine and its allies in the West have vowed never to recognize the annexation and have described it as a gross violation of Kyiv’s sovereignty.
Risk of starting a Nuclear War
The annexation of four territories in eastern and southern Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin marks the beginning of a new, dangerous phase in the seven-month conflict. One that Western officials and analysts worry could lead to the first use of nuclear weapons in 77 years.
Putin has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons if Russia’s objectives in Ukraine are not achieving. Providing Putin with a potential defense because “the territorial integrity of our country is challenge,.” So he put it in his address last week; the annexation brings the use of a nuclear bomb closer.
He reiterated the threat on Friday, saying that nuclear weapons were made possible by the U.S.’s use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He has previously said that the U.S. invasion of Iraq established a precedent for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.