AP Top News at 11:59 p.m. EDT

Putin signs annexation of Ukrainian regions as losses mount

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the final papers Wednesday to annex four regions of Ukraine while his military struggled to control the new territory that was added in violation of international laws. Ukrainian law enforcement officials, meanwhile, reported discovering more evidence of torture and killings in areas retaken from Russian forces. In Lyman, an eastern town liberated after more than four months of Russian occupation, residents emerged from their destroyed homes to receive packages of food and medicine. In a defiant move, the Kremlin held the door open for further land grabs in Ukraine. Speaking in a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “certain territories will be reclaimed, and we will keep consulting residents who would be eager to embrace Russia.” Peskov did not specify which additional Ukrainian territories Moscow is eyeing, and he wouldn’t say if the Kremlin planned to organize more such “referendums.” Putin last week signed treaties that purported to absorb Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions into Russia.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.