Between September 23 and 27, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions freed during the course of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, held a referendum on joining Russia. Shortly after midnight on Friday, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, signed a pair of decrees recognizing Kherson and Zaporozhye as independent territories. And today, all four territories were recognized Russian.
Vladimir Putin has expressed support for the Donbass and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions in joining the Russian Federation.
“Dear residents of Russia, residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the people of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions […] People have made their choice, an unequivocal choice,” Putin said, speaking at a ceremony in the Kremlin today.
The Russian leader expressed confidence that lawmakers gathered in the hall would speedily support formal laws on the new territories’ formal accession into Russia.
“I am sure that the Federal Assembly will support the constitutional laws on the admission and formation in Russia of four new regions, of four new subjects of the Russian Federation, because this is the will of millions of people,” Putin said. “This is of course their right, their inalienable right, enshrined in Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, where the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples is stated directly.”
Putin went on saying that this right is also based on the historical unity of generations of residents of the four regions with Russia, from the period of Ancient Rus to Catherine the Great, to the Second World War.
“We will always remember the heroes of the Russian Spring,” the President added, referring to the events in eastern and southern Ukraine in the months following the coup in Kiev in February 2014. “[We will always remember] those who died for the right to speak in their native tongue, to preserve their culture, traditions, their faith. For their right to live.”
In this context he reminded about the fighters of the Donbass, the martyrs of the “Odessa Khatyn”, the victims of the terrorist attacks carried out by the Kiev regime.
“This includes volunteers and militiamen, civilians, women and children, the elderly. Russians, Ukrainians, people from various nationalities,” the President said.
He stressed that the contemporary security crisis in Ukraine goes back decades. He recalled how in 1991, at the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, without asking the will of ordinary citizens, representatives of the then-party elites decided on the collapse of the USSR, and people found themselves cut off from their homeland at a stroke.
“This tore apart, dismembered our community of nations, became a national catastrophe. Just as the borders of the union republics were formed behind the scenes after the Revolution [of 1917], the final leaders of the Soviet Union, contrary to the direct expression of the will of the majority of the people in the 1991 referendum, destroyed our great country and simply placed the people before this fact,” Putin said.
However, he pointed that the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore and Russia does not need to return the past.
“But there is nothing stronger than the determination of millions of people who by their culture, faith, traditions, language consider themselves part of Russia, whose ancestors lived for centuries as part of one state. There is nothing stronger than the determination of these people to return to their true historical fatherland,” Putin emphasized.
The President also addressed the West, saying that it’s there where the real ruling power of the Kiev regime is.
“I would like everyone, including the authorities in Kiev and their real masters in the West, to hear me and remember that the people of [the four territories] are becoming our citizens. Forever,” Putin said. “We call on the Kiev regime to immediately cease fire, cease all hostilities – the war it unleashed in 2014 and return to the negotiating table. We are ready for this.”
Putin promised that the cities and settlements, housing stock, schools, hospitals, theaters, and museums damaged in the fighting would be restored, as would industry and infrastructure.
The Russian leader added that Russia will never accept the West’s “colonial-style” approach to international politics, and attempts to discriminate against and divide people into categories based on political nationalism and racism, including Russophobia. He recalled that the West has never truly apologized for the global slave trade, the genocide of the Native peoples of North America, the plundering of India and Africa, the Opium Wars waged by France and Britain against China in the 19th century.
“What they did amounted to the hooking of entire nations on drugs, the purposeful extermination of entire ethnic groups for the sake of land and resources, the organization of the hunting of people like animals. This is contrary to human nature, to the ideals of truth, freedom and justice. We are proud that during the 20th century, our country led the anti-colonial movement, which opened opportunities for development for many peoples of the world – to reduce poverty and inequality, to defeat hunger and disease,” Putin said.
Putin also accused the US of treating its allies like “vassals,” all the while cynically referring to them as “allies with equal rights.” He recalled that the US openly spies on the leaders of these countries, and suggested that these officials “shamefully,” “silently and resignedly swallow this loutish behavior.” These same nations have continued to support round after round of new anti-Russian sanctions, Putin said, with US pressure.
“But sanctions are not enough for the Anglo-Saxons, and they have moved on to sabotage. It’s incredible, but true. By organizing explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines running along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they have factually begun to destroy the pan-European energy infrastructure. It’s clear to everyone who benefits from this,” Putin said.