Russia President Vladimir Putin signs treaty to annex Crimea after residents vote to leave Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin added Crimea to the map of Russia last night, describing the move as correcting past injustice and responding to what he called Western encroachment upon Russia's vital interests.
In an emotional 40-minute speech televised live from the Kremlin, Putin said and I quote: "in people's hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia." Unquote.
He dismissed Western criticism of Sunday's Crimean referendum - in which residents of the strategic Black Sea peninsula overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia - as a manifestation of the West's double standards.