MOSCOW. — Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions yesterday signed treaties on uniting these territories with Russia.
The ceremony took place in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St. George’s Hall. Before signing the historic documents, Mr Putin delivered a speech about these territories joining Russia.
Two tables were set up in the hall for the signing ceremony. At one of them sat the heads of the four regions, who each took turns signing the document. Mr was seated at the other table – he approved the treaties on behalf of the Russian Federation.
After that the politicians stood up and gathered in the middle of the room for a joint handshake and a photo session.
The entire St. George’s Hall, where the entire political leadership of the country, including the cabinet of ministers and governors, gathered, applauded them. Rising from their seats, the ceremony participants began applauding and chanting “Russia.” Putin, smiling, cheered them on and joined the chant.
In his address, President Putin said:
“Citizens of Russia, citizens of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, residents of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, deputies of the State Duma, senators of the Russian Federation,
As you know, referendums have been held in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. The ballots have been counted and the results have been announced. The people have made their unequivocal choice.
Today we will sign treaties on the accession of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic, Zaporozhye Region and Kherson Region to the Russian Federation. I have no doubt that the Federal Assembly will support the constitutional laws on the accession to Russia and the establishment of four new regions, our new constituent entities of the Russian Federation, because this is the will of millions of people.
It is undoubtedly their right, an inherent right sealed in Article 1 of the UN Charter, which directly states the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.
I repeat, it is an inherent right of the people. It is based on our historical affinity, and it is that right that led generations of our predecessors, those who built and defended Russia for centuries since the period of Ancient Rus, to victory.
Here in Novorossiya, [Pyotr] Rumyantsev, [Alexander] Suvorov and [Fyodor] Ushakov fought their battles, and Catherine the Great and [Grigory] Potyomkin founded new cities. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought here to the bitter end during the Great Patriotic War.
We will always remember the heroes of the Russian Spring, those who refused to accept the neo-Nazi coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, all those who died for the right to speak their native language, to preserve their culture, traditions and religion, and for the very right to live. We remember the soldiers of Donbass, the martyrs of the “Odessa Khatyn,” the victims of inhuman terrorist attacks carried out by the Kiev regime. We commemorate volunteers and militiamen, civilians, children, women, senior citizens, Russians, Ukrainians, people of various nationalities; popular leader of Donetsk Alexander Zakharchenko; military commanders Arsen Pavlov and Vladimir Zhoga, Olga Kochura and Alexei Mozgovoy; prosecutor of the Lugansk Republic Sergei Gorenko; paratrooper Nurmagomed Gadzhimagomedov and all our soldiers and officers who died a hero’s death during the special military operation. They are heroes. Heroes of great Russia. Please join me in a minute of silence to honour their memory.
Behind the choice of millions of residents in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, is our common destiny and thousand-year history. People have passed this spiritual connection on to their children and grandchildren. Despite all the trials they endured, they carried the love for Russia through the years. This is something no one can destroy. That is why both older generations and young people – those who were born after the tragic collapse of the Soviet Union – have voted for our unity, for our common future.
In 1991 in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, representatives of the party elite of that time made a decision to terminate the Soviet Union, without asking ordinary citizens what they wanted, and people suddenly found themselves cut off from their homeland.
This tore apart and dismembered our national community and triggered a national catastrophe. Just like the government quietly demarcated the borders of Soviet republics, acting behind the scenes after the 1917 revolution, the last leaders of the Soviet Union, contrary to the direct expression of the will of the majority of people in the referendum of 1991, destroyed our great country, and simply made the people in the former republics face this as an accomplished fact.
I can admit that they didn’t even know what they were doing and what consequences their actions would have in the end. But it doesn’t matter now.
There is no Soviet Union anymore; we cannot return to the past. Actually, Russia no longer needs it today; this isn’t our ambition. But there is nothing stronger than the determination of millions of people who, by their culture, religion, traditions, and language, consider themselves part of Russia, whose ancestors lived in a single country for centuries. There is nothing stronger than their determination to return to their true historical homeland.
For eight long years, people in Donbass were subjected to genocide, shelling and blockades; in Kherson and Zaporozhye, a criminal policy was pursued to cultivate hatred for Russia, for everything Russian.
Now too, during the referendums, the Kiev regime threatened schoolteachers, women who worked in election commissions with reprisals and death. Kiev threatened millions of people who came to express their will with repression. But the people of Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson weren’t broken, and they had their say.
I want the Kiev authorities and their true handlers in the West to hear me now, and I want everyone to remember this: the people living in Lugansk and Donetsk, in Kherson and Zaporozhye have become our citizens, forever.
We call on the Kiev regime to immediately cease fire and all hostilities; to end the war it unleashed back in 2014 and return to the negotiating table. – TAss/Kremlin.ru