Putin illegally annexes Ukraine land; Kyiv seeks NATO entry

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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 the NATO military alliance.

At the Kremlin, Putin and the pro-Moscow heads of the four Ukrainian regions inked the treaties in a sharp escalation in the seven-month conflict.

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

Western allies denounced the annexation as illegal, with NATO’s chief saying the war is at “a pivotal moment,” and that Putin’s decision was “the most serious escalation since the start of the war.”

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