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'They made their choice..': Putin celebrates one-year anniversary of annexation of Ukrainian regions

Putin maintained that people wanted to be part of the Russian mainland by highlighting the victory of the Russian parties in the recently-held polls in annexed Ukrainian regions. These elections were denounced by the West.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Moscow Published on: September 30, 2023 16:29 IST
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the event
Image Source : AP Russian President Vladimir Putin at the event

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the annexation of Ukrainian regions since the invasion of the latter country last year, saying that the resident of those areas "made their choice to be with their Fatherland".

In an address to mark the occasion, Putin said that the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions was carried out in "full accordance" with international norms and noted that the residents chose to be part of Russia during the local elections held earlier this month.

Russia’s Central Election Commission said on September 11 that the country’s ruling party won the most votes in elections held in the occupied regions. Lawmakers from the ruling party, United Russia, won in the four Ukrainian regions Moscow annexed in 2022 and on the Crimean Peninsula. The elections were denounced by Western countries and Ukraine as a 'sham'.

A concert was also held in Red Square as part of celebrations for the annexed Ukrainian regions. However, Putin did not participate in that event.

Russia-Ukraine war goes on

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Air Force on Saturday said that it shot down 30 out of 40 Iranian-made drones aimed towards Odesa, Mykolaiv and Vinnytsia provinces overnight. A "peaceful fire" broke out in Vinnytsia's Kalynivka town when a drone hit an infrastructure facility, said regional governor Serhii Borzov.

Additionally, Romania's National Defence Ministry said that a possible unauthorised entry into its national airspace occurred overnight amid the bombardment and a signal was detected towards the city of Galati which lies close to the border with Ukraine.

“At this moment, no objects have been identified that fell from the airspace onto the national territory,” the Ministry said in a statement, adding that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces were informed of the unauthorised entry.

Romania has found drone fragments on its soil in recent times from the war next door at least three times as Russian forces carry out sustained attacks on Ukraine's Danube ports. 

On the other hand, Russia's Defence Ministry said Saturday that it had shot down nine Ukrainian rockets targeting the Belgorod region. Officials in the Bryansk region also reported disruptions to power supply after an attack in Pogar town.

(with AP inputs)

ALSO READ | Russian Minister Lavrov does not discuss Ukraine in UNGA address, slams West for 'fueling conflicts'

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