Crimea Officially Annexed to Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the treaty which incorporates Crimea into the Russian Federation.
Other signatories to the agreement were Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea's Speaker of Parliament Vladimir Konstantinov and the mayor of Sevastopol (a city which will have a special status within Crimea) Aleksei Chaliy, The Financial Times has reported.
The document, which was published on the Kremlin's website, means that the peninsula has officially become part of the Russian Federation as of March 18, 2014.
According to Russian website Lenta.ru, a transitional period is to be in force on Crimea until January 1, 2015. Within that stretch of time, the new Russian citizens will be integrated into the legal, economic and financial system of the country.
Local elections will be held in September 2015.
All Ukrainian citizens, as well as all stateless persons residing on the peninsula are immediately granted Russian citizenship.
Parliament in Moscow has now to mandatorily ratify the treaty.
The agreement was signed less than 48 hours after Ukraine's autonomous region voted to be part of Russia.
On Sunday, 96% of Crimea's population voted in favour of breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia. The move was condemned and declared illegal by Ukraine, the EU, and the US.
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