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Putin completes annexation of Crimea

  • Crimea-3

    A child gives fruit to a Ukrainian officer at the Ukrainian Military Prosecutor's Office in Simferopol, Crimea, Thursday, March 20, 2014. The lower house of Russian parliament voted Thursday to make Crimea a part of Russia following Sunday’s Crimean referendum in which its residents overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia. (AP Photo/Maxin Vetrov)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Russia-Crimea-1

    Members of the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, applaud for their voting during a plenary session in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 20, 2014. The Kremlin-controlled State Duma voted Thursday to allow Crimea to join Russia following a quick discussion in which members of the Kremlin-controlled chamber assailed the Ukrainian authorities. The merger needs to be rubber stamped by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin, mere formalities expected to be completed by the end of the week. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Crimea-4

    Pro-Russian soldiers check the traffic entering the Ukrainian navy headquarters, after taking control Wednesday, in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Pro-Russian forces seized three Ukrainian warships Thursday and Ukraine said its troops were being threatened in Crimea as the U.S. announced a new round of sanctions against Russia for its annexation of the Black Sea peninsula. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Crimea-5

    A soldier in an unmarked uniform stands guard at APC outside the Ukrainian Military Prosecutor's Office in Simferopol, Crimea, Thursday, March 20, 2014. The lower house of Russian parliament voted Thursday to make Crimea a part of Russia following Sunday’s Crimean referendum in which its residents overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia. (AP Photo/Maxin Vetrov)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin has signed bills making Crimea part of Russia, completing the annexation from Ukraine.

Putin hailed the incorporation of Crimea into Russia as a “remarkable event” before he signed the bills into law in the Kremlin today.

Russia rushed the annexation of the strategic Black Sea peninsula after Sunday’s hastily called referendum, in which its residents overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia. Ukraine and the West have rejected the vote, held two weeks after Russian troops had taken over Crimea.

The U.S. and the European Union have responded by slapping sanctions on Russia.

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