Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed treaties to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, following a series of votes that Kyiv and the West have denounced as illegal, sham referendums.
In a major speech held at the Kremlin on Friday, Mr Putin declared Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia would be folded into Russia.
"This is the will of millions of people," he said in front of hundreds of dignitaries at the ornate St George's Hall.
"People have made their choice at referendums in Ukraine's territories," he said.
"There are four new regions of Russia."
Mr Putin said the people living in the annexed regions were now Russian compatriots "forever".
He accused Kyiv of threatening people who took part in the referendums with "repression" and warned "Kyiv should respect the will of the people", alluding to his repeated threats to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia's "territorial integrity".
"We will defend our land with all means ... we will work to increase security in [the] new regions," he said.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-30/ ... /101493000