Putin Recognizes Crimea Independence, Claims Peninsula as Russia Territory
"Taking into consideration the will of Crimea's people on the nationwide referendum, which took place on March 16, 2014, to recognize the Republic of Crimea, where Sevastopol city has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state," reads the official decree.
"An absolute majority of both Crimeans and Russians support reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation. Today, based on results of the referendum conducted in Crimea (on March 16) and based on the will of people, I will introduce a law to the Federal Council of the Russian Federation on accepting two subjects to the Russian Federation, the Crimea and city of Sevastopol, and also to ratify the approved agreement to on joining by Crimea the Russian Federation. I have no doubt that you will support it."
Russia moved into Crimea on February 22 after Ukraine’s parliament ousted Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. The peninsula is home to over 58% ethnic Russians and the Russian Black Sea Fleet. When Yanukovych was deposed, the pro-Russians kicked out their Kiev appointed officials and replaced them with pro-Russians. Sergei Aksyonov was elected as their leader, and he pleaded to Putin for more military and help.
The moves by Russia caused major backlash from the West. President Obama and the European Union threatened sanctions for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty, but Putin insisted he had the right to protect the ethnic Russians and Russian interests in Crimea. Obama imposed visa bans and stopped trade and military exercises with Russia and threatened to boycott the G8 summit in Sochi, Russia. UK Prime Minister David Cameron claimed he would push through damaging sanctions, but after leaders in London met the only people punished were lower level Russians. The leaders allowed Putin and his rich friends with London connections to escape punishment.
G7 leaders told Putin he was violating international laws, Putin said annexing Crimea complied with Article One under UN law. Russia and Crimea refused to cancel the referendum on March 16, and the final results showed 97% of the voters wanted to leave Ukraine for Russia. The countries recognized the results despite numerous violations spotted by The Kyiv Post.
On Monday, Obama released a list of sanctions against 11 Russians and Ukrainians. However, Russia ended up laughing at Obama. Russia Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted insults to Obama.
The EU also passed more sanctions but did not name the people on the list. Obama and the EU promised more sanctions will come. Russia retaliated and said they will place sanctions on US politicians and Obama officials.