Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree recognizing the Republic of Crimea as a "sovereign and independent state", the Kremlin press service has reported.
The presidential decree orders that, "taking account of the declaration of the will of Crimea's people at the general Crimean referendum on March 16, 2014, the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has special status, be recognized as a sovereign and independent state."
"The decree comes into force on the date of its signature," it says.
Processing of 100 percent ballots from the Crimean referendum showed 96.77 percent voters are in favor of Crimea becoming a part of Russia, Chairman of the Crimean Referendum Commission Mikhail Malyshev said on Monday morning.
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