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Putin Signs Decree Recognizing Crimea as 'Sovereign State'

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday recognizing Ukraine's Crimea region as a sovereign state.

The decree posted on the Kremlin's website appeared to be a first step toward integrating Crimea as a part of the Russian Federation.

The decree, which took effect immediately, says Moscow recognition of Crimea as independent is based on "the will of the people of Crimea".

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Crimea's leaders declared a Soviet-style 97-percent result in favor of seceding from Ukraine in a vote condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West. The Crimean parliament formally proposed that Russia "admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject with the status of a republic".

Putin will address the issue at a special joint session of the Russian parliament on Tuesday.

— Reuters