Russian president Vladimir Putin invoked Jesus, Satan, and transsexual bogeymen in a Kremlin ceremony for carving up Ukraine on Friday (30 September).
Putin signed eagle-embossed, leather-bound tomes declaring four Ukrainian regions to be part of Russia in a palatial hall, full of clapping Russian VIPs, including patriarch Kirill, and attended by marching soldiers in dress uniform.
The last time this happened, when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, marked a dark hour for Europe's post-WW2 security order.
This time it's more dangerous, because Russia isn't in full of control of the new territories it has claimed, amid Kremlin threats to protect Putin's greater Russia with nuclear weapons if need be.
Putin portrayed the annexation as a holy war against the West, using startling rhetoric.
"They [the West] are moving toward open Satanism," he said in a speech broadcast to millions online.
Western elites were teaching "sexual deviation" to children who changed their gender, he said. "We're fighting for historical Russia, to protect our children and grandchildren from this experiment to change their souls," he added.
Putin invoked Jesus by name to bear witness to his "truth" and portrayed himself in messianic terms.
"I believe in the spiritual power of the Russian people and my spirit is its spirit, the suffering of the people is my suffering," he said.
"The destruction of the Western hegemony is irreversible," Putin added, as he neared the climax of his oration.
His new mysticism stood in contrast to his justification for seizing Crimea in 2014, which he based on historical grounds.
Putin also blamed "Anglo-Saxons", referring to the UK and US, for blowing up two Russian gas pipelines to Germany this week — in a potential casus belli with Nato.
He jeered the European public for soaring food and energy prices due to his invasion. "You need food," Putin said. "You can't heat your apartments", he said.
The rest of his speech went along well-worn lines, accusing "the West" of imperialism, colonialism, hypocrisy, and historical sins such as the bombing of Hiroshima and Dresden in WW2.
But while Putin is known for using surprisingly foul-mouthed language, such as necrophiliac jokes, at public events, his mixture of sex, religion, and geopolitics on Friday was more extreme than ever.
For their part, EU leaders are preparing to impose new sanctions on Russia when they meet in Prague next week.
They aim to blacklist Russian ideologue Alexander Dugin, who speaks of the Ukraine war and Russian identity in equally toxic terms, along with 28 others.
They are to strike at Russia's oil, steel, and forestry industries.
The EU is also preparing to copy-paste its Crimea travel and business ban to the new Russia-annexed areas, as the war drags out.
"Russian travel documents issued in those regions [the four Ukrainian areas annexed by Russia on Friday] are not recognised by member states as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein for the purposes of issuing of a visa and of crossing the external borders," an internal EU document said, which is being prepared alongside the new Russia blacklists.
Ukraine said it was applying to join Nato in riposte to Putin's gambit on Friday.
The Kremlin solemnities saw Russia's four puppet-leaders in eastern Ukraine grip hands with Putin while chanting "Russia! Russia!" to a standing ovation.
Two of them wore Z-symbol lapel-badges, a logo which become synonymous with Russian atrocities committed in Ukraine over the past six months.
The Crimea annexation, eight years ago, saw Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe back Putin at the UN in a sign of what he might expect this time round.
Cuba, Nicaragua, and Syria formally recognised Crimea as part of Russia, but Russia's bigger friends, such as China and Iran, never bound themselves to Putin's whimsy.
The pattern first arose when Russia recognised the independence of two Russia puppet-regimes in Georgia in 2008, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and when Putin was joined by Nauru, Nicaragua, Syria, and Venezuela only on the world stage.