Putin Illegally Annexes Ukraine Land; Kyiv Seeks NATO Entry

(Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / AFP) (Photo by MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed treaties to illegally annex parts of Ukraine, while Kyiv has submitted an “accelerated” application to join NATO. At the Kremlin, Putin and the pro-Moscow heads of the four Ukrainian regions inked the treaties in a sharp escalation of the war.

The signing came three days after the end of Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” on joining Russia that Kyiv and the West dismissed as a bare-faced land grab, held at gunpoint and based on lies.

NATO’s chief said the war is at “a pivotal moment,” and that Putin’s decision was “the most serious escalation” since the war began. Russia pounded Ukrainian cities, with one strike in the Zaporizhzhia region’s capital killing 30 people and wounding 88.

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