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In his speech to the Russian nation on Monday, President Vladimir Putin buoyed his case for codifying the cleavage of two rebel territories from Ukraine by arguing that the very idea of Ukrainian statehood was a fiction.

With a conviction of an authoritarian unburdened by historical nuance, Putin declared Ukraine an invention of Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, who he said had mistakenly endowed Ukraine with a sense of statehood by allowing it autonomy within the newly created Soviet state.

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