Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of forwarding "satanism" on Friday as he signed multiple treaties formally annexing four Ukrainian regions.
In the speech, Putin characterized NATO and the U.S. as "the dictatorship of the Western elites," claiming the bloc is coming to resemble a reversion of religion or "pure satanism."
"We have many like-minded people in Europe and the United States, and we feel and see their support. An essentially emancipatory, anti-colonial movement against unipolar hegemony is taking shape in the most diverse countries and societies," Putin stated.
"Today, we are fighting for a just and free path, first of all for ourselves, for Russia, in order to leave dictate and despotism in the past," he added.
His remarks were part of the Kremlin's justification for incorporating Luhansk and Donetsk, two states that had been under pro-Russian rebel occupation since 2014 in the form of "people's republics."
Russia also decided to envelop Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — two regions still facing significant resistance and where Moscow's influence has waned since the beginning of Ukraine's counteroffensive last month.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the country has retaken over 2,300 miles of territory in the south and east since the beginning of the counteroffensive.
"The movement of our troops continues," Zelenskyy said.
President Joe Biden pledged the West's continued support to Ukraine after Russia's latest move, promising never to recognize Putin's claims and unveiling a new round of sanctions aimed at the country's defense and technology industries.
"Make no mistake: These actions have no legitimacy," Biden stated. "I urge all members of the international community to reject Russia's illegal attempts at annexation and to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes."
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