"Things will no longer be as before. The battlefield to which fate and history have summoned us is the battlefield for our people and the great historical Russia," he said.
On Friday, President Vladimir Putin signed the accession treaties of the Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia regions, which this week officially applied to become part of the Russian Federation.
The ceremony took place in the Saint George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, where the leaders of the four separatist territories were present: Denis Pushilin (Donetsk), Leonid Pásechnik (Lugansk), Vladimir Saldo (Kherson), and Yevgueni Balitski (Zaporiyia).
The signing ceremony came after Putin delivered a 38-minute speech in which he defended the "unequivocal" choice of citizens of the four provinces. He has also called on Ukraine to immediately cease fire and promised that he will defend Russian territory with all means.
"The collapse of Western hegemony, which has already begun, has no turning back," Putin said, emphasizing that the world has entered a phase of "revolutionary transformations" in which multiple development centers are expected to emerge.
The times of unipolar decisions are in the past, he pointed out, adding that Russia has many supporters all over the world and no one can "erase" its people and culture from history.
"I repeat again: things will no longer be as before. The battlefield to which fate and history have summoned us is the battlefield for our people and the great historical Russia," Putin said.
The Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions represent approximately 100,000 square kilometers, an extension that is equivalent to 15 percent of the Ukrainian territory. After the entry of these territories, the Russian Federation will exceed 150 million inhabitants.