Between September 23 and 27, the Donbass republics and areas of Kherson and Zaporozhye freed during the course of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine held referenda on whether to accede into Russia. Overwhelming majorities of residents in each territory voted in favor of doing so. Vladimir Putin has expressed his full support for the incorporation of the Donbass and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions into Russia, and signed a decree to that effect. “Dear residents of Russia, residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the people of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions…you know that referendums have taken place. The results have been calculated. The results are known. People have made their choice, an unequivocal choice,” Putin said, speaking at a ceremony in the Kremlin on Friday.
“I am sure that the Federal Assembly will support the constitutional laws on the admission and formation in Russia of four new regions, of four new subjects of the Russian Federation, because this is the will of millions of people,” Putin said. “This is of course their right, their inalienable right, enshrined in Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, where the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples is stated directly,” he added. This right is also based on the historical unity of generations of residents of the four regions with Russia, from the period of Ancient Russia to the time of Catherine the Great, to the Second World War, Putin said.
“We will always remember the heroes of the Russian Spring, those who died for the right in their native tongue, to preserve their culture, traditions, their faith. For their right to live,” the president added, referring to the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in eastern and southern Ukraine in the months following the Western-backed coup in Kiev in February of 2014.
“This includes the fighters of the Donbass, the martyrs of the ‘Odessa Khatyn’, the victims of the inhuman terrorist attacks carried out by the Kiev regime. It includes volunteers and militiamen, civilians, women and children, the elderly. Russians, Ukrainians, people from various nationalities.” Putin asked for a minute of silence to honor the memories of the fallen, including the Russian servicemen who have died over the course of the special military operation.
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