Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that residents of four regions annexed by Russia in 2022 confirmed” their will to join Russia in local elections.
Putin remarks were during a video address marking the first anniversary of the annexation of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. The Russian strongman stressed that the choice to join Russia had been reinforced by this year’s local elections.
“A year ago, on September 30, a defining and truly historic event took place when agreements were signed to incorporate four new constituent entities into the Russian Federation,” he said in the video address.
“Just like a year ago, during the historic referendums, citizens once again expressed and confirmed their desire to belong to Russia and supported their compatriots who won the trust of the people through their actions,” Putin stated in the roughly four-minute video broadcast at midnight.
Putin also reiterated his stance that Russia’s operation in Ukraine which started on February 2022 had saved the local population from nationalist leaders in Kiev, whom he accused of starting a “full-scale civil war” and engaging in “terror against those who think differently.”