‟[ ... ] I want everyone to remember this: the people living in Lugansk and Donetsk, in Kherson and Zaporozhye have become our citizens, forever.
We call on the Kiev regime to immediately cease fire and all hostilities, to end the war it unleashed back in 2014 and return to the negotiating table. We are ready for this, as we have said more than once. But the choice of the people in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson will not be discussed. The decision has been made, and Russia will not betray it. Kiev’s current authorities should respect this free expression of the people’s will; there is no other way. This is the only way to peace.”
(V. V. Putin, Presidential address on the occasion of signing the treaties on accession of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions to Russia, Moscow, September 30, 2022)