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Putin says Crimea 'inseparable' part of Russia after 'historic' referendum

Published on Mar 18, 2014 7:31 PM
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and civil society representatives, at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said Crimea "was and is an inseparable part of Russia" in the hearts of his countrymen, as he gave a keynote address on the planned absorption of Crimea into Russian territory. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said Crimea "was and is an inseparable part of Russia" in the hearts of his countrymen, as he gave a keynote address on the planned absorption of Crimea into Russian territory.

Putin slammed the Soviet-era decision by Nikita Khrushchev to hand Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet republic as being riddled with "violations". He said the weekend's referendum vote by Crimeans to join Russia was of "historic importance".