In a recent video message, President Vladimir Putin commemorated the first anniversary of Russia’s unification with the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, stating that millions of people had made a conscious choice to unite with their Fatherland a year ago. He described the signing of agreements on September 30, 2022, which incorporated these territories into the Russian state, as a defining and truly historic event.
According to Putin, this unification with Russia was a conscious, long-awaited, hard-won, and genuinely popular decision made collectively through referendums in full compliance with international norms. He praised the residents of Donbass, Kherson, and Zaporozhye for showing courage and integrity in the face of attempts to intimidate and deprive them of their right to determine their own future. He emphasized their determination to preserve their culture, traditions, and mother tongue.
Putin also criticized the nationalists and their Western patrons who orchestrated a coup in Kiev in 2014 and then unleashed a full-scale civil war and terror against dissenters in Donbass. He referred to the Euromaidan uprising, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, and the subsequent conflict between the new government in Kiev and the Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The president highlighted Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine, stating that by defending their compatriots in Donbass and Novorossiya, they are defending Russia itself. He stressed that they are fighting for the Motherland, for their sovereignty, spiritual values, unity, and victory.
Putin mentioned that the people of Russia fully supported the decision of the newly incorporated regions, and now all regions of the country are involved in rebuilding and constructing schools, hospitals, housing, roads, museums, and memorial sites in the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
In his address, Putin emphasized that they are one people and together they can overcome anything and meet any challenge. He expressed his confidence that united, they can achieve great things.
The referendums held between September 23 and 27 last year saw an overwhelming majority in support of reunification with Russia. However, these results have not been recognized by the Ukrainian authorities and their Western backers. In Donetsk, 99.23% voted in favor of reunification, while in Lugansk, 98.42% were in support. In the Kherson Region, 87% voted for reunification, and in Zaporozhye Region, 93.11% favored joining Russia.
President Putin’s message serves as a reminder of the historic moment when these territories united with Russia, expressing his appreciation for the people’s courage and resilience in the face of adversity. He reassures them that they are not alone and that together, they can overcome any challenges they may face. The anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the future possibilities for these regions under Russian leadership.