President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia.
It comes after Sunday’s referendum in Crimea, which saw overwhelming support for a union with Russia.
Putin signed the law after a speech to Russia’s parliament, in which he hit back at his critics.
He condemned Ukraine’s “so-called” authorities, saying they had stolen power in a coup and had opened the way for “extremists” who would stop at nothing to determine the future of the country.
Addressing a joint session of Russia’s parliament, Putin said: “Those who were behind recent events, they were … preparing a coup d’etat, another one. They were planning to seize power, stopping at nothing. Terror, murder, pogroms were used.”
He called them “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites” adding: “It is primarily they who are deciding how Ukraine lives today. The so-called Ukrainian authorities introduced a scandalous law on the revision of the language policy, which directly violated the rights of the national minorities.”
He said Moscow sees Western attempts to frighten Russia with sanctions as aggression and will retaliate.
Earlier Putin signed a decree which recognises Crimea as a sovereign and independent state. The Kremlin said the order would take immediate effect.
It follows the Crimean parliament’s earlier decision to declare independence from Ukraine after the region’s referendum on Sunday. That saw a massive 97 percent of voters back a break-away from Kyiv.
‘Rule of the gun’
The European Union, United States and Ukraine have all condemned the ballot as illegal.
In his speech to Russia’s parliament Putin said US foreign policy is dictated not by international law, but by the “right of the strong”.
“Our Western partners headed by the United States prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun,” he said.
“They have come to believe in their exceptionalism and their sense of being the chosen ones. That they can decide the destinies of the world, that it is only them who can be right.”
In addition to commandeering all Ukrainian state property, Crimea’s leaders have declared Ukrainian law invalid.
They also announced they will adopt the Russian rouble, and the clocks will move two hours forward to Moscow time at the end of March.
- 1Tsipras says if Greeks approve the EU’s aid plan, Syriza will resign
- 2Eurogroup ministers to discuss new Greece aid proposal
- 3Istanbul Gay pride quashed by riot police, rubber bullets and water cannon
- 4The end of the road for Uber? Executives detained by French police
- 5Miss Universe turns ugly for Trump as US TV network cut ties with presidential candidate
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Spain’s first case of diphtheria in 30 years: parents of six-year-old ‘oppose vaccines’
- 3[Live updates] NGO flotilla bids to break Israeli blockade of Gaza
- 4Greek debt crisis is “absolute supremacy of capital over humans”
- 5[LIVE UPDATES] France: man decapitated, several wounded in chemical plant attack
- 6Israel prepares to repel boarders as ‘Freedom Flotilla 3’ tries to run Gaza blockade
- 7Large Hadron Collider ready to embark on an unprecedented voyage of discovery
- 8NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 9Istanbul Gay pride quashed by riot police, rubber bullets and water cannon
- 10Greek debt summit – Live updates
- 11‘Distractingly sexy’ scientists hit back in lab chemistry polemic
- 12Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria focus of EU cash fraud probes
- 13Interpol issues ‘red notice’ for accused ex-FIFA bosses
- 14Summit up in Brussels as Greek proposals give food for thought and rumours fly
- 15Battle of Waterloo, live-tweeting 200 years on
- 16Greek PM faces day of crucial bailout talks in Brussels
- 17Citizens take power in Spain’s largest cities as a political revolution sweeps the country
- 18Italy discovers biggest illegal waste dump in Europe
- 19Greek banks, stock exchange will not open on Monday, Tsipras announces
- 20Hungary: billboard war sparks international concern
Wires > News
- 23:19 CET Taiwan youth to China – Treat us like a country
- 22:42 CET Islamic State threatens to topple Hamas in Gaza
- 21:34 CET Legislation enacting Irish gay marriage vote delayed
- 21:15 CET Around 1,200 escape from Yemen prison, including al Qaeda suspects
- 21:07 CET Fearing euro exit, thousands of Greeks rally for ‘Yes’ vote
- 20:50 CET U.S., Iran presidents issue warnings as nuclear talks extended
- 20:47 CET Romania’s opposition wins spy agency vote as Ponta government…
- 19:35 CET Three killed in car bomb in suburb west of Cairo – sources