Putin's speech marks gamble to change course of war

This week, one Russian newspaper, Moskovsky Komsomolets, concluded that Vladimir Putin will continue to attack because he has nowhere to retreat.

The controversial signing ceremony in front of MPs, senators and officials took place at St George's Hall in the Kremlin Palace.

Vladimir Putin's decision to annex the four Ukrainian territories 

("incorporate" in Kremlinspeak) is yet another example of the Russian president's offensive against Ukraine and the West.

The Kremlin is trying to change the facts on the ground in Ukraine through annexation.

This is happening at a time when Russia has been losing ground in the country.

Mr Putin wants to present a fait accompli to Kyiv and to the West.

The situation has become much more serious in the president's standoff with Ukraine and the western world.