Putin signs documents to annex four contested Ukrainian provinces, calls on Kiev to agree to ceasefire

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Friday, signed the document to formally annex four Ukrainian provinces occupied by Moscow’s troops.

Putin said the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson are now part of Russia, during a televised ceremony in the Kremlin.

Russian occupation authorities staged referendums in the four areas in the past week which they said showed an overwhelming majority in favour of leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.

Ukraine and Western powers have dismissed the vote, saying the results were a foregone conclusion that would never be recognized internationally.

Putin also 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 are 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. 

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