Putin signs decree officially recognising Crimea’s independence

Russian President Vladimir Putin wasted no time in recognizing the March 16 secession vote in Crimea, signing a decree 24 hours after polling stations closed in the Black Sea peninsula officially acknowledging the breakaway region as an independent state, the Kremlin press service reported on March 17.

The move laid the groundwork for the possible annexation of Crimea, which Putin is scheduled to address in front of an assembly of both houses of parliament in Moscow on March 18.

“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.

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