Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Russia, Crimea Sign Accession Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Crimea signed a treaty Tuesday reunifying the Ukrainian breakaway region with Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine. Putin signed the treaty with Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov and other Crimean leaders after addressing both houses of parliament, as well as heads of Russian regions and representatives of public organizations at a special assembly in the Kremlin. The Russian parliament is expected to ratify the treaty imminently. Putin signed a decree Monday recognizing Crimea as an independent state, following a referendum Sunday that saw voters on the peninsula overwhelmingly support secession and reunification with Russia. In his address, punctuated by loud applause, the Russian leader justified Moscow’s decision to protect Crimea, saying Russia’s inaction would have been regarded as treason. “The residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia with a request to protect their rights and their lives. We could not have rejected their appeal and left them in trouble,” Putin said.


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