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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday formally announced that Moscow will annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, in an act condemned by the global community and in violation of international law.

Speaking at an event at the Kremlin, Putin announced the incorporation of the four Russian-occupied regions — Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia. Putin described them as “four new regions” of Russia.

“I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West: People living in the Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia [regions] are becoming our citizens forever,” Putin said.

However, he called on Ukraine to sit down for talks to end the more than seven-month-long war.

Putin also said the West had broken its promises to Russia and had no moral right to talk about democracy, and that the countries of the West were acting as the imperialist states that they had “always been”.

On Thursday, the Russian leader signed decrees recognizing the supposed independence of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, mirroring a decree signed in February regarding the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

“I order the recognition of the state sovereignty and independence” of the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, situated in southern Ukraine, Putin said in the decrees.

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