Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the country is annexing four partly occupied areas of Ukraine during a ceremony on Friday Sep. 30 after holding sham referendums in the regions.
The four regions include Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, which border Russia in western Ukraine, where people in the four occupied areas allegedly voted in favor of joining Russia over five day referendums that were illegal under international law, according to CNN.
The referendums have been denounced by Kyiv and the West as a sham.
In his almost 37-minute speech on Friday Sep. 30, Putin announced that people living in the four Ukrainian regions will become Russian citizens “forever“.
He also called on Ukrainian forces “to immediately end hostilities” and “return to the negotiating table”.
The United States, members of the European Union and the United Nations have condemned the annexation.
Days before Russia announced the annexation, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, told reporters that “any decision to proceed with the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions “would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned.”
During the ceremony, Putin also attacked Western values calling it “outright Satanism”.
He even took a jab at LGBTQ rights in the West, claiming it lead to “perversions”.
“Do we really want in our schools, from the elementary grades, that children were imposed perversions that lead to degradation and extinction? That they were taught that besides a man and a woman there were some other genders and were offered sex-change operations?” he said.
Putin’s move could further escalate the Ukraine-Russia war, which first started on Feb. 24 under the pretense to “demilitarize” Ukraine.