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President Putin Signs Annexation of Ukrainian Regions

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed laws formally absorbing four Ukrainian regions into Russia.

The documents finalizing the annexation, carried out in defiance of international law, were published on a Russian government Web site Wednesday morning.

Earlier this week, both houses of the Russian parliament ratified treaties making the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions part of Russia. That followed Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” in the four regions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy responded to the annexation by announcing a fast-track application to join NATO and formally ruling out talks with Russia.

Zelenskiy’s decree, released on Tuesday, declares that holding negotiations with Putin has become impossible after his decision to take over the four regions of Ukraine.

The head of Zelenskiy’s office, Andriy Yermak, wrote on his Telegram channel shortly after Putin signed the annexation that “the worthless decisions of the terrorist country are not worth the paper they are signed on.”

“A collective insane asylum can continue to live in a fictional world,” he added.

The borders of the territories Russia is claiming still remain unclear, but the Kremlin has vowed to defend Russia’s territory — as well as the newly absorbed regions — with any means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons.

Russia and Ukraine yesterday gave conflicting assessments of a Ukrainian offensive in the strategic southern Kherson region — one of the four areas that Russia is annexing.