Update(10:23ET): With the ink drying on the official annexation declarations newly signed by the heads of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in Friday’s historic ceremony – the key takeaway from President Putin’s lengthy speech is that he declared a “mission accomplished” of sorts. He said these eastern and southern provinces are now part of Russia “forever”. He even touted that the referendums were accomplished in line with the UN charter on self-determination for all peoples, and vowed “They have made their choice… this is the only path to peace. We will protect our land using all our forces and we will protect their security. We will of course rebuild all destroyed towns and continue building hospitals, theaters, and schools.”
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Putin bluntly informed the large audience of top officials at Saint George’s Hall at the Grand Kremlin Palace of Moscow that there are now “four new regions of Russia” – a fait accompli that the Ukrainian government and its Western backers are rejecting, also on fresh reports that pro-Kremlin forces have suffered more setbacks in Donetsk in particular. Earlier in the week Moscow acknowledged that its “special operation” will continue until at least all of Donetsk is captured. At this point, none of the entirety of each of the four regions are yet under total Russian military control, the overwhelming “yes” votes among citizens in favor of joining the Russian Federation notwithstanding.
This means Kiev is of course unlikely to accept Putin’s essential assertion of we’ve taken the four territories, now let the negotiations begin [our paraphrase]. “We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately stop hostilities and sit at the negotiating table,” Putin said.
Certainly Washington and London will seek to ensure Kiev isn’t enticed by this – also as the weapons shipments continue to ramp up, with longer range missile systems in the pipeline to boot. As for the newly annexed territories, Putin made clear in his speech that we “won’t negotiate the status of the annexed territories” and further that he “won’t discuss” the now finalized results of the referendums. This follows Crimea having long been taken off the table since its own popular referendum and annexation in 2014.
And with all eyes on the devastating sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines, he pointed the finger squarely at Washington: “They are destroying European energy infrastructure… it’s clear who benefits.” According to his statements:
Putin blamed the United States for this week’s unexplained explosions at the Nord Stream pipelines that have left the damaged pipelines leaking huge amounts of natural gas into the Baltic Sea.
“It’s obvious to everyone who did it,” he said.
On the issue of dwindling energy supplies and soaring costs headed into what’s sure to be a rough, frigid winter for European populations, he slammed Western elites for a problem of their own making…
“They print money, but you cannot warm your homes with this printed money… They have to convince their citizens to shower less, eat less, and put on warm clothes.”
“The Western elites.. it’s a crisis due to their own fault.” He described that the goal of the “hybrid war” in Ukraine has a “Goal to break Russia at any costs.”
“The dictatorship of the Western elite is directed against all societies, including against the peoples of those Western countries themselves. It’s a challenge for all. This means the total negation of the human, the overthrow of religion and traditional values as the crushing of freedom becomes to look like the opposite of religion – open Satanism,” he said, repeating a familiar theme of his, and while rejecting “LGBT”/gender ideology as a threat to Russian society which the West seeks to impose…
“Do we really want to have a parent No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 instead of mom and dad in Russia? Do we want children to be told that there are other genders besides men and women? Is this the future we want for our children? For us, this is unacceptable,” the Russian president said.