This was the second largest land grab since the Second World War (the first being Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea) as it was claiming 15% of Ukraine’s territory – Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
But he did not just talk about this – even though it’s a major breach of international law in its own right – and soon strayed into topics from Satanism to rewriting history itself.
Here are the top seven bizarre moments.
1. Annexed Ukrainian regions now ‘forever’ part of Russia
Putin said: “I want the Kyiv authorities and their real masters in the West to hear me, so that they remember this. People living in Luhansk and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens. Forever.”
The international community condemned the sham referendums even before anyone could supposedly reach the ballot box. It’s thought Ukrainians were coerced into voting, if they even got to vote at all.
Now, though, Putin said these territories will never be returned to Ukraine because Russia “will not betray them”.
He later said the dissolution of the USSR (which Russia and Ukraine used to be part of) in 1991 cut people off “from their motherland”.
2. Ukraine must end the war it began in 2014
He said: “We call on the Kyiv regime to immediately end hostilities, end the war that they unleashed back in 2014 and return to the negotiating table.”
This is a reference to the year when Russia annexed Crimea, part of Ukraine, not the other way around.
3. West ‘sabotage’
He also blamed the West for “sabotaging” the pipelines sending energy from Russia to Europe earlier this week, even though it is Moscow who has been using its natural gas and oil exports as leverage against the West.
“Sanctions were not enough for the Anglo-Saxons: they moved onto sabotage,” Putin said.
3. A veiled nuclear threat
He then alleged: “Even today, [the US] actually occupy Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and other countries, and at the same time cynically call them allies of equal standing.”
4. Not mentioning Ukraine (at all) for 15 minutes…
He described Western values as “outright Satanism”, a “suppression of freedom”, and with a “denial of humanity”. He said this all goes against “traditional” and “religious” values and needs to be fought off.
He explained: “The destruction of this Western hegemony is irreversible, the world will never be the same.
“And we are called by this history, by our faith to fight for historic Russia.
“For great, historic Russia, for future generations, for our children and grandchildren we need to protect them from these experiments which aimed to break their soul and their consciousness.”
6. A dig at the LGBTQ+ community
Putin then called for the heterosexual nuclear family and gender binary to return.
“Do we really want, here, in our country, in Russia, instead of ‘mum’ and ‘dad’, to have ‘parent No. 1’, ‘parent No. 2’, ‘No. 3’?
“Have they gone completely insane? Do we really want … it drilled into children in our schools … that there are supposedly genders besides women and men, and [children to be] offered the chance to undergo sex change operations? … We have a different future, our own future.”
7. A chant of ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ – and a handshake
After officially signing the treaties honouring the annexation of the four regions into Russia, the national anthem played. Then Putin, and the four supposed leaders of the annexed areas, chanted together with the audience: “Russia, Russia, Russia!”
They also had a five-way handshake, in a surprising move for Putin, as he is known for staying a long way away from anyone in the same room as him.