Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the documents officially making Crimea part of Russian territory.
Putin signed the bills at the Kremlin on Friday, completing the process of making Ukraine’s strategic Black Sea region part of the Russian Federation.
The Russian president also signed legislation creating two new Russian administrative districts: Crimea and the port city of Sevastopol.
Before signing the bills into law, Putin hailed the integration of Crimea into Russia as a “remarkable event.”
“I want to congratulate all citizens of the Russian Federation – residents of the whole country, Crimea and Sevastopol — on what is, without any exaggeration, a banner event,” he told a group of senior lawmakers and Russian officials on Friday.
The signing comes after Russia’s upper and lower houses of parliament overwhelmingly put their stamp at rejoining of the Black Sea region to Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dismissed Western sanctions against Moscow over Crimea as “irrational” and “unlawful.”
The Russian minister also lashed out the Western states for using the term “annexation” to refer to Crimea’s reunion with Russia, adding that such a word is an “insult” to Crimeans who overwhelmingly voted in favor of rejoining Russia in last week’s referendum.
Crimea’s referendum on March 16 has drawn angry reactions from the US and the European Union, both imposing “punitive measures,” including travel bans and assets freezes, against a number of Russian officials as well as authorities in Crimea.
Russia’s Federation Council approves Crimea reunion
Russia’s upper house of parliament has voted in favor of a treaty that officially makes Ukraine’s strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea part of the Russian Federation.
The 155 senators present at the Friday session of Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved the treaty which had been signed by President Vladimir Putin on March 18.
“We have been not witnesses but participants in the historical events that happened in recent days and with a feeling of dignity, responsibility and patriotism, we have fulfilled our historic mission too,” said Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Russian council following the vote.
In a similar move on Thursday, the State Duma, Russia’s lower house, overwhelmingly approved the treaty to rejoin Crimea with Russia.
On March 19, Russia’s Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that a treaty reunifying the Ukrainian breakaway region of Crimea with Russia is lawful.
Speaking at the Friday parliament session, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said Western sanctions against Moscow over Crimea are “unjust” and “irrational” and would “create unnecessary barriers” between Moscow and the West.
The Russian minister also lashed out the Western states for using the term “annexation” to refer to Crimea’s reunion with Russia, adding that such a word is an “insult” to Crimeans who overwhelmingly voted in favor of rejoining Russia in a referendum on March 16.
“Russia is devoted to a political solution of the Ukrainian crisis and believes that the suggestions on the issue, which the Foreign Ministry previously publicized remain relevant,” added Lavrov.
The recent referendum has drawn angry reactions from the US and the European Union, both imposing “punitive measures,” including travel bans and assets freezes, against a number of Russian officials as well as authorities in Crimea.
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