Did Putin just announce that he is annexing eastern Ukraine?

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Lisa Kristinardottir:

I sure darn hope not! What the heck? C’mon Vlad!!!

Originally posted on Quartz:

In recent weeks, Russian president Vladimir Putin has been pretty clear about his Ukraine strategy. He annexed Crimea, he said, because were it not for a sentimental gesture by Nikita Khrushchev, the region would have remained part of Russia, as it historically had been. He was simply righting a historical misstep, he said.

But with eastern Ukraine, Putin’s critics have said, he had a harder case for a territorial claim. Until today. In his marathon news conference, Putin repeatedly called a broad swathe of eastern Ukraine “New Russia.” He said it was part of Russia proper during the Czarist era, but was inexplicably plopped into Ukraine not long after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. In his words, as transcribed by the New York Times:

The question is to ensure the rights and interests of the Russian southeast. It’s New Russia. Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa were not part of Ukraine in Czarist times. They were transferred in 1920. Why?…

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