Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to recognize Ukraine’s breakaway region of Crimea as an independent state, the Kremlin press service said on Monday.
Russia also said that it recognizes Sevastopol, a Crimean port that houses the Russian Black Sea fleet base, a city with a “special autonomous status” within the Republic of Crimea.
The decree comes into force immediately after being signed.
Crimea, the autonomous republic within Ukraine, has refused to recognize as legitimate the new leadership in the country. A referendum held Sunday in the largely Russian-ethnic autonomous republic saw over 96 percent of voters support reunification with Russia.
On Tuesday, Putin will address an assembly of both houses of parliament, as well as heads of regions and representatives of public organizations about Crimea’s reunification request.