Russian President Recognizes Crimea as Sovereign StateWorld | March 17, 2014, Monday // 20:58| views
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony of Russia`s state awards presentation to medal winners of Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, 17 March 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Monday a decree recognizing Crimea as a sovereign and independent country.
"Considering the will of the peoples of Crimea expressed at the all-Crimea referendum on March 16, 2014, I hereby decree that the Republic of Crimea, where the city of Sevastopol has a special status, be recognized as a sovereign and independent state," according to the decree, as cited by ITAR-TASS.
The decree takes effect upon signing.
Earlier on Monday, Crimea's regional assembly declared independence from Ukraine and applied to join Russia, following Sunday's referendum in Crimea in which 97% of voters backed breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia.
The EU and US, which condemned the referendum as illegitimate, imposed sanctions on a number of officials from Russia and Ukraine over the vote.
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