MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the millions of ordinary citizens, whose culture has been "destroyed", carried the "love for their historical homeland in their hearts" and in the heat of the battle, "heroically" came to the referendum and made their choice to be with Russia.
Putin made the remarks at the "People's Choice: Together Forever" concert rally from Red Square which was organized on Friday, the same day when Putin formally announced the annexation of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, and Lugansk.
The Russian President took part in the rally in support of the accession of the DPR, LPR, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions to Russia. He called the day a "special, momentous and, without exaggeration, historic day, a day of truth and justice."
Speaking in retrospect, Putin said that he cannot help but go back to the time when the Soviet Union was formed and when Russia was creating "modern Ukraine."
"It was Russia that created modern Ukraine, giving it significant swathes of land, historical lands of Russia, along with the people, who no one asked about where and how they want to live, how they see the future of their children, and in which country. The same thing happened when the Soviet Union broke apart. The elites decided everything among themselves, and no one asked millions of ordinary citizens anything," he said as per the Kremlin press release.
He asserted that only now, only "modern Russia" has given the residents of the Lugansk People's Republic, the Donetsk People's Republic, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson the "right to choose.
" Putin that even though shelling was going on in Lugansk they remained in the line to the polling station to defend their choice. "The elections were going on in Lugansk, and people were standing in line in the street waiting to get into the polling station. The artillery shelling began. A shell landed nearby, not far away, but no one left the line to the polling station. Amazing!"
For decades, he pointed out, "they have been trying to eradicate historical consciousness from these people, to destroy their traditions, to forbid them from speaking their native language, and to ban culture - nothing of that came to pass.
"These people carried the love for their historical homeland in their hearts and passed it along to their children. That is why we are saying that Russia is not just opening the doors of its native home to our brothers and sisters; it is opening its heart to them. Welcome home!" Putin gave the credit of Friday's "triumph" to heroic "soldiers and officers, Donbass militia and volunteers." "You and I are here today on Red Square, but they are not here at the parade. They are in the heat of the battle, heroically defending the choice that the people made several days ago. I know what I am talking about. Heroically is the word."
As a sign of support and gratitude, and in recognition of their "service, their heroism and self-sacrifice", Putin proposed sending from Red Square, a signal of his "support, respect and admiration for their sacrifice and heroism" and gave them a triple "Hurrah."
Take a deep breath and go at my command on the count of three, Putin said, "One, two, three, go: Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
" Calling the people of the regions "brothers and sisters" Putin assured that Russia "will do everything it can" to ensure security and to improve safety in these territories for these people.
"We will do everything to revive the economy, to rebuild infrastructure, to build new schools and other educational institutions, hospitals and outpatient clinics. We are now stronger because we are together. The truth is on our side, and the truth means strength, which means victory. Victory will be ours!"
After Putin's formal announcement of annexation of the said four regions, western leaders condemned it, termed it "illegal" and vowed that they will "never recognize" these areas.