Greece joined a host of countries in condemning the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territories with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, declaring on Friday that Greece "will never recognize the illegal annexation of Ukraine's territories," adding that "Russia is undermining the rules-based international order and violating the fundamental rights of Ukraine to independence and sovereignty," and that "Greece and the EU stand firmly with Ukraine."
The reaction comes on the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed that Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, internationally recognised as Ukrainian territory, are now a part of the Russian Federation, marking the biggest annexation of territory in post-World War II Europe.
“This is the will of millions of people,” Putin said in a speech at a grand Kremlin ceremony to welcome the four areas to Russia and in defiance of international law, NBC news reported.
It marked a new political escalation of the seven-month war following the Kremlin's call-up of military reservists and renewed threats that Moscow could resort to using weapons of mass destruction.
The World Reacts:
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss:
"Putin cannot be allowed to alter international borders using brute force. We will ensure he loses this illegal war."
"Putin has, once again, acted in violation of international law with clear disregard for the lives of the Ukrainian people he claims to represent."
"The UK will never ignore the sovereign will of those people and we will never accept the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as anything other than Ukrainian territory."
Dutch Prime Minister Marke Rutte:
"The Netherlands will never recognize this annexation, just as we don't recognise the annexation of Crimea."
EU Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen:
"The illegal annexation proclaimed by Putin won’t change anything. All territories illegally occupied by Russian invaders are Ukrainian land and will always be part of this sovereign nation."
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni:
Russian President Vladimir Putin "once again demonstrates his Soviet-style, neo-imperialist vision that threatens the security of the entire European continent."
European Council Members Statement:
"We firmly reject and unequivocally condemn the illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
"By wilfully undermining the rules-based international order and blatantly violating the fundamental rights of Ukraine to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, core principles as enshrined in the UN Charter and international law, Russia is putting global security at risk.
"We do not and will never recognise the illegal 'referenda' that Russia has engineered as a pretext for this further violation of Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, nor their falsified and illegal results. We will never recognise this illegal annexation."