Crimea officially becomes part of Russian Federation

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill making Crimea and Sevastopol officially a part of the Russian Federation.

Source: Tanjug

Earlier on Friday, Ukraine signed the political part of the association agreement with the EU.

Before Putin's signature, the agreement regulating Crimea and Sevastopol's accession to Russia was approved by both houses of the country's parliament.

These Ukrainian territories joined Russia based on a referendum held on March 16, when nearly 97 percent of those who turned out voted in favor of this outcome.

Ukraine and Western countries said the referendum was illegal, while the U.S. and the EU introduced sanctions against Russia.

Putin, on the other hand, said his country would not respond with similar measures.

The Crimean peninsula was a part of Russia from the 18th century until 1954, when then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine as a gift. It had the status of an autonomous republic inside Ukraine.