Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday March 21 signed into law legislation completing the annexation of Crimea, calling it a “remarkable event.”
The Kremlin signing ceremony took place after the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, voted unanimously to incorporate the Crimea region into Russia. The lower house ratified the treaty on Thursday, just four days after Crimean residents voted in a referendum to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.
President Putin and Crimean leaders signed the treaty on Tuesday, and the Kremlin said the treaty came into force on the date it was signed.
In a meeting Friday with his advisory Security Council, Putin said for now, Russia will hold off on imposing sanctions on the United States in retaliation for U.S. sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
However, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters separately that Russia will respond in kind to the latest U.S. sanctions, which target Russian officials and members of President Putin’s inner circle. “We will respond every time,” Peskov said.
And the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that Russia will “respond harshly” to the latest round of U.S. sanctions.
On Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned the Kremlin that Russia would face far reaching consequences if it sent troops into Ukraine after a referendum in Crimea which he said has been carried out under the barrel of a Kalashnikov.
“The best rebuke to Russia is a strong and successful Ukraine,” Cameron said, adding that if Russian troops went into eastern Ukraine then the Kremlin would face “far-reaching consequences in a broad range of economic areas.”
Cameron also said that Russia is more dependent on Europe than Europe
is on Russia.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is meeting Friday with Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, and acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Kyiv for discussions on resolving the crisis. On Thursday, Ban met with President Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. Mr. Ban said he urged the Russian leader to prevent “any unintended incident” in or near Ukraine that could aggravate tensions in the volatile region.