Putin Marks Illegal Takeover of Ukrainian Regions

Vote showed people chose to be with 'their Fatherland,' Russian ruler says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2023 3:55 PM CDT
Putin Marks Illegal Takeover of Ukrainian Regions
Firefighters clear the rubble after Russian rocket attack in Kostiantynivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Alex Babenko)

Russian President Vladimir Putin marked the annexation of regions in Ukraine one year ago with a video address Saturday that claimed recent local elections demonstrate that their people want to be allied with Russia. "Just as a year ago in the historic referendums, people again expressed and confirmed their will to be with Russia and supported their countrymen who, through their labor and real actions, proved worthy of the people's trust," Putin said, per Reuters. Putin added that they "made their choice—to be with their Fatherland," per the AP.

Ukraine and Western nations have denounced the elections as illegal. "Russia's sham elections are a transparent, futile attempt to legitimize its illegal control of sovereign Ukrainian territory," said UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, per CNN. "You can't hold 'elections' in someone else's country." Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were formally incorporated into Russia last Sept. 30 after referendums that Putin's government claimed showed overwhelming support; Western opponents say voters were coerced en masse by Russian troops. The Russian military still does not fully control any of the four regions. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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