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  • 5 Reasons Putin Gave for Annexing Crimea

    Russia formally signed a treaty to annex the breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea in the face of sanctions leveled Monday by the U.S. and the European Union. Here are five reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin gave for why Russia moved to take Crimea back and what the world can expect now.

    • 1 Returning Crimea to Russia Rights a Historical Wrong

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      Transferring authority of Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was a violation of Soviet law, Mr. Putin says, and returning it to Russia corrects that mistake. He said that when soviet leader Nikita Krushchev signed Crimea over to Ukrainian control, no one expected that the Soviet Union would break up and that when it did, Crimea was handed over like a “sack of potatoes.”

      “What used to seem incredible, unfortunately became reality,” he said. “A big country was no more.”

      What used to seem incredible, unfortunately became reality.
    • 2 Crimea Needs to Be Part of a Strong and Stable State

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      Mr. Putin claimed there is no legitimate authority in Ukraine, which puts those living in the predominantly ethnic-Russian region under threat. He said Russia has a responsibility to defend its “compatriots.” Besides, he said, the result of a weekend referendum that showed an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voting to secede from Ukraine and join Russia is proof that this was the will of the people. He cited examples like Kosovo splitting off from Serbia as a historical precedent.

      More than 96% of Crimean voters cast their ballots to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia.
    • 3 Russia Doesn't Intend to Seize More of Ukraine

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      Despite the massing of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, Mr. Putin said Russia has no intention to take control of more territory in eastern Ukraine. In recent days, Russia has raised concerns about instability in Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking east, where pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian rallies have ended in skirmishes. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russia of sending provocateurs to Ukraine to cause trouble.

    • 4 The West Crossed a 'Red-Line' By Backing New Government in Kiev

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      Mr. Putin accused Western powers of hypocrisy by standing behind the new government in Kiev, a regime that he said illegally seized power in a late February coup. He said this undermined any argument that Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the referendum there to secede were illegal. The West doesn’t recognize the results of Sunday’s vote and calls the whole thing illegitimate.

    • 5 Russia Isn't Concerned About Sanctions

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      The modest sanctions leveled against a small list of Russian government officials Monday by the West doesn’t bother Russia, Mr. Putin said. Many of the targeted officials laughed off the announcement of asset freezes and visa bans against them, saying they have no holdings abroad so the sanctions will have little effect.