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MOSCOW, March 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Putin presents to Federation Council draft bill on accepting 2 new Russian Federation members — the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
Putin orders to ratify the decree to declare Crimea and Sevastopol part of Russia.
Almost 92% of Russians support Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation, the President says.
Russia will have to make a difficult decision and consider the opinion of all Russians, says Putin.
We welcome cooperation with NATO, but we do not want them at our borders, Putin notes.
Russia does not intend to take other regions after Crimea, and it respects Ukraine's territorial integrity, Putin assures.
Vladimir Putin thanked the Chinese leadership for considering the Ukrainian situation in its full historical complexity.
We have always been cornered because we call a spade a spade, the President says.
We always offered cooperation on a variety of issues but we did not see reciprocity, Putin said, speaking about cooperation with Western partners on the Ukrainian issue.
The Russian President says it would be a betrayal to leave Crimea in trouble, and the US has no right to decide the fate of Crimea.
Putin understands why people wanted change, but new powers brought coup not elections.
The President says armed forced never entered Crimea, Russia just strengthened them in numbers allowed by law.
The US says that Kosovo precedent is a unique case, so why do they think that Crimea's situation is not unique? — Putin.
These are not double standards, this is outright cynicism, Putin says.
There is no legitimate political leadership in Ukraine, there is no one to deal with, Putin states.
Crimea cited the UN charter when set the date for the referendum, the President explained.
The West keeps saying that Russia has violated the international law, thanks that they know that such laws exist, Putin jokes.
Putin emphasized that he understands people who went to Maidan with peaceful slogans, protesting corruption and poverty.
Nationalists executed the coup in Ukraine. They tried to revise the language policy, and that would have undermined the rights of minorities, Putin says.
The Russian-speaking population in Ukraine faced constant humiliation, the President stressed.
We always believed in good neighborly relations with Ukraine, but the situation developed in another direction, the Russian President says.
Sevastopol is a Russian fortress and a host for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Putin notes.
The Russian President stressed that Russia has vital interests in Crimea.
Decision to give Crimea to Ukraine contained clear violation of constitution norms — Putin.
Putin says that it is important to ensure the right of all ethnicities in Crimea, including Crimean Tartars, and measures to complete rehabilitation of Crimean Tartars should be taken. There will be three official languages - Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tartar.
Vladimir Putin is talking about the history of the Crimean region and its importance to Russia.
Crimean referendum held in full compliance with democratic procedures — Putin.
More than 82% of the voters took part in the referendum in Crimea, and more than 96% voted for accession to Russia, Putin says.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is about to make a statement on Crimea's application for accession to the Russian Federation.
Earlier today, Putin has approved draft agreement to accept the Republic of Crimea as a consitutuent entity of the Russian Federation
President Vladimir Putin on Monday, March 17, signed a degree recognizing the Republic of Crimea as a sovereign and independent state.