President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation to absorb Crimea into the Russian Federation. This formally ends the process of the annexation of the Ukrainian territory.
President Putin signed the legislation to absorb the Ukrainian territory into the Russian Federation, in a ceremony held in the Kremlin and broadcast on national television on Friday.
This came just hours after the upper house of parliament approved the bills, and a day after the lower house Duma passed the legislation.
Just before putting pen to paper, the Russian president hailed the move as a "remarkable event."
During the ceremony, Putin actually signed three separate bills; one making Crimea part of Russia, along with two others creating the new Russian administrative districts of Crimea and the port city of Sevastopol.
Moscow's annexation of Crimea comes just days after a hastily called referendum on the peninsula, in which the vast majority voted to split from Ukraine in favor of Moscow. Sunday's referendum, though, was met with widespread international criticism, particularly from the West.
The European Union and the United States have responded to Russia's decision to first take military control of Crimea, then to annex it, by imposing sanctions on dozens of individuals.
pfd/jr (dpa, AP)