Russian dictator Vladimir Putin illegally declared Russia has annexed parts of Ukraine, which literally no other country in the world has recognized:
Speaking to hundreds of Russian lawmakers and governors in a grand Kremlin hall, Mr. Putin said that the residents of the four regions — which are still partially controlled by Ukrainian forces — would become Russia’s citizens “forever.” He then held a signing ceremony with the Russian-installed heads of those four regions to start the official annexation process, before clasping hands with them and chanting “Russia! Russia!”
Ukraine’s government has rebuffed Mr. Putin’s claims and vowed to retake territory captured by Russia in the east and south. Even as Mr. Putin spoke, Ukrainian officials said their army had encircled the Russian-occupied town of Lyman, a strategically important hub in the Donetsk region that lies inside the territory Mr. Putin is claiming.
Without saying so directly, Mr. Putin hinted that the role of nuclear weapons in war is on his mind. Describing the West as “deceitful and hypocritical through and through,” Mr. Putin noted that the United States was the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war. He then added: “By the way, they created a precedent.”
In addition to telling Putin to fuck off (in diplomatic terms, anyway), Ukrainian president Volodomir Zelenskyy announced that Ukraine has formally applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—something he was ready to promise not to do until this week:
[Putin's] speech was followed by Moscow-installed leaders of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia signing documents proclaiming them part of Russia, before joining hands with Putin and singing the national anthem.
Minutes later, Zelenskyy posted a surprise online video announcing, "We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine's application for accelerated accession to NATO."
Joining the alliance has been a goal of Kyiv's for years, and would give it the protection of collective defense promised by Washington and others. In reality, a number of hurdles stand in its way.
While not being NATO allies, the U.S. and others have provided billions of dollars of military support for Ukraine as well as multiple rafts of sanctions. On Friday it responded to Putin's statement with another salvo, imposing economic and visa sanctions on hundreds of Russian and Belarusian officials, their family members and businesses.
Putin's domestic situation has deteriorated precipitously in the past two weeks as the Russian people have discovered they really do have an unhinged malignant narcissist running their country. And that movie always ends the same way.
(h/t Darth Putin KGB on Twitter)