In his speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin sealed the annexation of the four areas in Ukraine, most of which are occupied by Russian troops – eXXpress reported. On Friday afternoon, most of the reporting and public reactions revolve around this part of the speech. Putin signed the relevant documents at the televised ceremony in the Kremlin.
With the exception of a few media – such as the eXXpress – Russia’s offer to stop the fighting, provided that Ukraine does so, is hardly reported. Putin’s speech about a possible ceasefire is mentioned in “Forbes”, where it says: “Putin then offered Kyiv a ceasefire and asked it to come to the negotiating table, but added that the status of the annexed provinces was not up for debate.”
One thing is clear: the West does not recognize the annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Cherson.
The “acceptance” of the occupied areas in Russia is “an illegal annexation that we can never accept,” says Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. The annexation of the territories is “another serious attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Van der Bellen said. The previously “sham referendums held in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia were a measure by the Russian regime that violated international law and was a pure farce. They are to be condemned in the strongest terms”.
The chairwoman of the right-wing party “Brothers of Italy” (FdI – Fratelli dd ´Italia) and election winner Giorgia Meloni also sharply criticizes the annexation of four Ukrainian regions by Russia. The move has “no legal or political value,” Meloni said on Twitter. “Vladimir Putin is once again demonstrating his Soviet-style neo-imperialist vision that threatens the security of the entire European continent,” Meloni wrote.
The remaining heads of state and government of the EU states also expressed themselves in this spirit. “We will never recognize this illegal annexation,” said a statement released on Friday. “These decisions are null and void and cannot have any legal effect.”
In his speech, Putin said: There will be no negotiations with Ukraine about these annexed areas. The Russian President referred to the “right to self-determination” of peoples and Article 55 of the United Nations Charter.
However, the sham referendums are not recognized worldwide. In this specific case, the violation of Ukrainian and international laws has been criticized and that minimum democratic standards have not been observed. In the past few days, observers had pointed to numerous cases in which the Ukrainian residents of the occupied territories had been forced to vote.
The day before, Zelenskyy thanked the United Nations for its position: “I appreciate UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ clear position on the Russian Federation’s criminal intention to illegally annex other Ukrainian countries: such actions have no legal force and grossly violate the goals and principles of the UN Charter and are not recognized by the world.”