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,Zelenskyy to submit 'accelerated' NATO application as Russia annexes Ukraine land | 10 points
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Zelenskyy to submit 'accelerated' NATO application as Russia annexes Ukraine land | 10 points
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, in a major ceremony packed with fiery speeches and enthusiastic photoshoots, signed treaties to annex more occupied Ukrainian territory. This move comes as an escalation in the 7-month-long war against Ukraine.
During the ceremony, the Russian President urged Ukraine to sit down for peace talks but immediately insisted he won’t discuss handing back occupied regions. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said there'd be negotiations with Russia - only with another President.
Zelenskyy reciprocated to the annexation - by signing an “accelerated” NATO membership.
Here are 10 key updates from on the Russia-Ukraine war front:
Putin vowed to protect newly annexed regions of Ukraine by “all available means," a renewed nuclear-backed threat he made at a Kremlin signing ceremony where he also railed furiously against the West, accusing the United States and its allies of seeking Russia's destruction.
Zelenskyy then held a signing ceremony of his own in Kyiv, releasing a video of him putting pen to papers he said were a formal NATO membership request.
In response to Putin's move, western countries responded with an avalanche of condemnation and announcement of more punishment of Russia. The U.S. announced sanctions for more than 1,000 people and firms connected to Russia’s invasion, including its Central Bank governor.
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The European Union rejected and condemned “the illegal annexation.” Its 27 member states said they will never recognize the illegal referendums that Russia organized “as a pretext for this further violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called it “the largest attempted annexation of European territory by force since the Second World War.” He said the war is at “a pivotal moment,” and that Putin’s decision to annex more territory – Russia now has claimed to have sovereignty over 15% of the country – marks “the most serious escalation since the start of the war.”
Zelenskyy vowed to keep fighting, defying Putin's warnings that Ukraine shouldn't try to take back what it has lost.
In his fiery speech at the ceremony, Putin insisted that Ukraine must treat the Kremlin-managed votes “with respect.”
After the signing ceremony of treaties to join Russia, Moscow-installed leaders of the occupied regions gathered around Putin and they all linked hands, joining chants of “Russia! Russia!” with the audience.
Putin cut an angry figure as he accused the United States and its allies of seeking to destroy Russia. He said the West acted “as a parasite” and used its financial and technological strength “to rob the entire world.”
Russia controls most of the Luhansk and Kherson regions, about 60% of the Donetsk region and a large chunk of the Zaporizhzhia region, where it controls Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.