Putin Informs Parliament of Crimea's Request to Join Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a formal legislative step toward annexing Crimea.
Putin has informed Russia's Parliament that Ukraine's autonomous region of Crimea, which approved with a 97% majority to secede from the country on a referendum held on Sunday, wishes to be incorporated into the Russian Federation, the BBC reports.
On Monday, he signed a decree recognizing Crimea as a sovereign and independent country.
ITAR-TASS quoted him as saying that he took the measure "considering the will of the peoples of Crimea expressed at the all-Crimea referendum on March 16, 2014".
The President declared the city of Sevastopol as having a special status within Crimea. It is precisely in Sevastopol where Russian Black See Fleet is based as part of a previous agreement with Ukraine.
Russia's President is to address Parliament later on Tuesday regarding Crimea's annexation.
Ukraine and the West have refused to accept the peninsula's bid to join Russia.
In response to its decision, the EU and the US imposed on Monday travel bans and asset freezes against a number of Russian and Ukrainian officials.
Officials explained that sanctions were targeting figures seen as having a key role in the March 16 referendum.
Putin's decree on Crimea's independence was, however, published short after the EU and US announced their sanctions, and thus Russia's move was seen as an act of defiance.