Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed annexation of a swath of Ukraine on Friday in a speech at the Kremlin, according to Reuters, Agerpres reads.
„I want the Kyiv authorities and their real masters in the West to hear me, so that they remember this. People living in Luhansk and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens. Forever. We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately end hostilities, end the war that they unleashed back in 2014 and return to the negotiating table. We are ready for this … But we will not discuss the choice of the people in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. That has been made. Russia will not betray them,” Putin announced in a speech.
„We will defend our territory by all means”, promised the Kremlin leader, accusing the West of waging a „hybrid war” against Russia.