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Putin bestows awards on acting heads of new regions

The leaders of the four former Ukrainian provinces that joined Russia were presented with merits by the president

Over two dozen people received state merits from Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. Those recognized included the acting heads of four former Ukrainian regions that joined Russia following referendums this autumn.

Putin described the individuals being honored as “heroes, trail blazers, creators, courageous and industrious people, who contributed greatly to the development of the nation, showed their character in this difficult, yet momentous time.”

Among those lauded for their achievements and character were several Russian mothers who are raising many children, an arctic liquefied natural gas tanker captain, a prominent composer, a teacher, an undersea pipelayer, an Orthodox bishop, medics, troops, civic activists, journalists, and government officials.

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The last group included the four acting heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions: Denis Pushilin, Leonid Pasechnik, Vladimir Saldo, and Yevgeny Balitsksy. Moscow incorporated the four formerly Ukrainian provinces into its territory in October.

The transition followed referendums organized by the local authorities on whether to formally request accession to Russia. Kiev dismissed the votes as a “sham” and pledged to fight until it recaptures the territories.

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In his welcome speech, Putin mentioned the Ukraine conflict, stressing that he regarded as heroes all of the Russian troops involved in the campaign.

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“I honestly consider all of them heroes, every person who bears this heavy, important and dangerous service. They are at risk every second,” he emphasized.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014.

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed this assessment earlier this month.

December 20, 2022 at 07:27PM
RT

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