"Welcome home": Russia celebrates the anniversary of the annexation of four regions of Ukraine with a concert in Moscow
Several thousand people gathered in Moscow's Red Square to celebrate the first anniversary of the annexation of four regions of Ukraine that Russia claims it owns.
The crowd carried Russian flags, and the slogan "One nation, one family, one Russia" was placed on the concert stage, as well as the inscription "Donbass is New Russia".
At the end of September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed documents ratifying the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk (east), as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson (south).
Soon after, Putin spoke at a celebratory concert in Red Square, telling residents of those territories that they were "welcome home."
Then Putin assessed that those territories were "returned to their historical homeland".
The annexation of Ukrainian territory to Russia has drawn sharp condemnation from the Ukrainian authorities and their Western supporters, who consider the annexation illegal.
Putin declared September 30 as "unification day". Putin will not have a speech on Red Square this year, but the host said: "Exactly one year ago, historical justice won. Russian territories joined Russia. Russia does not abandon its people. We are one and the same country," said the host of the celebration before the concert.