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Russia will use all means to guard annexed regions: Putin

Published : Saturday, 1 October, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 536

KYIV, Sept 30: Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the process of annexing parts of Ukraine by saying he would sign laws to absorb them despite international condemnation and protect the newly incorporated regions using "all available means."
In a speech preceding a treaty-signing ceremony to make four Ukrainian regions part of Russia, Putin warned his country would never give up the occupied areas and would protect them as part of its sovereign territory.
The ceremony comes three days after the completion of Kremlin-orchestrated "referendums" on joining Russia that were dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a bare-faced land grab held at gunpoint and based on lies. Putin urged Ukraine to sit down for talks to end the seven months fighting that started when the Russian leader ordered his troops to invade Ukraine. He said Ukrainian authorities should "treat ... with respect" the lopsided results of the Moscow-managed votes and warned sternly that Russia would never surrender control of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Both houses of the Kremlin-controlled Russian parliament will meet next week to rubber-stamp the treaties for the regions to join Russia, sending them to Putin for his approval.
Ukrainian officials dismissed Putin's remarks, saying the future of the Ukraine was being decided on the battlefields of Ukraine.
"We continue to work and liberate Ukrainian territories. And we don't pay attention to those whose time to drink pills has come," Andrii Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president's office, said. "The army is working, Ukraine is united. Only moving forward."
The event in the Kremlin's opulent white-and-gold St. George's Hall was organized for Putin and the heads of the four regions of Ukraine to sign treaties for the areas to join Russia, in a sharp escalation of the seven-month conflict.
The separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine have been backed by Moscow since declaring independence in 2014, weeks after the annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. The southern Kherson region and part of the neighboring Zaporizhzhia were captured by Russia soon after Putin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Putin and his lieutenants have bluntly warned Ukraine against pressing an offensive to reclaim the regions, saying Russia would view it as an act of aggression against its sovereign territory and wouldn't hesitate to use "all means available" in retaliation, a reference to Russia's nuclear arsenal.     -AP 



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