Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Friday said Ukraine’s government needed to agree to a ceasefire and return to the negotiating table.
“We are ready for this,” Putin said as he declared the parts of Ukraine occupied by Moscow’s forces to be part of Russia.
Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions were to be incorporated through “treaties” signed with the states, which Moscow had recognised as independent.
Putin stressed that the people in these regions had become “our citizens forever.”
He stressed that there would be no negotiations with Ukraine concerning the annexed territories, citing referendums conducted in the areas, even though they had been widely dismissed as illegal.
Putin invoked the “right of self-determination” of the people living in the four areas, in spite of reports of Ukrainian residents in the occupied territories having been forced to vote.