"The people made their choice, a clear choice."
With these words, Russian President Vladimir Putin opens the signing ceremony of the annexation treaties in Moscow of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
The Kremlin thus certifies the veracity of the referendums in the territories of the Ukrainian Donbass invaded and controlled by Moscow troops, a vote that the international community has defined as a "farce".
"Millions of people have expressed their will," Putin said. "I want them to hear me in Kiev, to hear me in the West: the people who live in Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia become our citizens forever and we we will defend our land with all the means at our disposal ".
The choice of annexation is no longer under discussion but " we are ready to return to the negotiating table ": Ukraine must "cease the fire that began in 2014".
The reaction of the UN Security Council is ready , with a resolution condemning the annexation referendums, a measure that will however have the veto of Russia and, therefore, cannot be adopted. "The US will not be intimidated by Putin or his threats or the farce he organized this morning," Joe Biden told the White House, reiterating that the US and its allies "will never recognize the territories as Russia". "We are prepared to defend every inch of NATO," he said again.
Volodymyr Zelensky says goodbye to any peace negotiations between Moscow and Kiev , at least as long as Vladimir Putin remains in power: "Ukraine is and remains a leader in the negotiation efforts. We have always offered Russia an agreement on coexistence on fair, honest terms. and dignified. But it is obvious that this is impossible with this Russian president. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but when it will have another president. "
The Kiev leader also raised the challenge and raised the bar, promising the liberation of all Ukraine and calling for accelerated NATO membership after the final "farce" of annexation: "In fact, we are already in NATO. done, we have already demonstrated compatibility with Alliance standards, "standards that" are real for Ukraine, real on the battlefield and in all aspects of our interaction. We trust each other, we help each other and we protect each other. This is the Alliance. "
It is unlikely that the Alliance will welcome a country at war: under Article 5 on mutual defense, it would mean that NATO would enter directly into the conflict, with the real risk of a third world war , the one that Joe Biden and Western leaders want to avoid.
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The news by the hour
Biden: "We will not be intimidated by Putin's threats"
"The US will not be intimidated by Putin or his threats or the farce he organized this morning." Joe Biden said this at the White House reiterating that the US and its allies "will never recognize the territories as Russia". "We are prepared to defend every inch of NATO," he said again.
Moscow: "Ukrainian butchers go to NATO landfill"
"Today everyone has chosen their own path. The bloodthirsty butchers who kill women and children go to the NATO landfill. And we go into the future". Thus the spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry Maria Zakharova comments on Telegram, as reported by Ria Novosti, the request of Ukraine to join NATO.
Zelensky: "We don't negotiate with Moscow until Putin is president"
Ukraine will not negotiate with Russia as long as Vladimir Putin is its president. Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky said this in a video on Telegram, replying to the statements of the head of the Kremlin during the annexation ceremony of four Ukrainian regions.
EU: "Review or revoke visas already issued to Russians"
The EU Commission asks member states to "review" or "revoke" the visas already issued to Russian citizens given the changed security conditions after yet another escalation decided by the Kremlin. Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, urged member states to review the long-term visas, which are longer than 90 days, already issued. "It is a national competence but it would be a good thing and we will follow the situation closely," he said.
Putin: "The people of the Ukrainian regions chose annexation"
"The people made their choice, a clear choice." This was stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, opening the signing ceremony of the annexation treaties in Moscow of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Lukashenko: "Peace possible in a few days"
"If the Europeans sincerely want it, peace" in Ukraine "can be achieved in a few days". This was stated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, accepting the credentials of several ambassadors. Belta reports it.
Rockets on a humanitarian convoy: 23 dead
This morning Russian troops rocketed an outbound civilian humanitarian convoy
from Zaporizhzhia, there are victims: regional military chief Oleksandr Starukh reported on Telegram, quoted by UNIAN.
Sanctions violated, oligarch under accusation
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, patron of aluminum giant Rusal, was indicted for violating economic sanctions imposed by the United States. Informed sources report this to CNN.
Deripaska is accused of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The oligarch, sources said, is currently not in police custody. The king of aluminum was also sanctioned by the European Union.