Putin annexes four parts of Ukraine into Russia, defying international law
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the annex of four Ukrainian regions, despite international criticism over the 'illegal' move.
Putin said he planned to sign laws to annex the areas, which he said he would protect using ‘all available means’.
The event had been organised so that Putin and the heads of the four Ukrainian regions could sign treaties for the areas to join Russia – something the AP’s Bill McLoughlin described as a ‘sharp’ escalation of the seven-month conflict.
As Amnesty International explains, annexation is unlawful under international law and is therefore 'null and void and without international legal effect'.
Earlier today, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss also condemned Putin’s actions as ‘illegal’.
She said in a statement: “Vladimir Putin has, once again, acted in violation of international law with clear disregard for the lives of the Ukrainian people he claims to represent.
“The UK will never ignore the sovereign will of those people and we will never accept the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as anything other than Ukrainian territory.
“Putin cannot be allowed to alter international borders using brute force. We will ensure he loses this illegal war.”
The ceremony came three days after the Kremlin completed its ‘referendums’ on the regions joining Russia.
The move has been criticised across the globe, and has also been rejected by Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskyy.
In yesterday’s daily address, he told his nation: “Everyone in the world understands well what such an attempted annexation would actually mean. It will not mean what the Kremlin hopes for.”
Zelenskyy said he had spoken with leaders in Italy, Poland and France earlier in the day, building on efforts by the US and other allies to create an international stance rejecting the annexation attempt.
He added: “Now I repeat for everyone in this country: Russia will not get a new territory of Ukraine. Russia will annex itself to the catastrophe that it has brought to the occupied territory of our country.”
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