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Annexation of Crimea
20 February – 26 March 2014
The Crimean Peninsula was annexed by the Russian Federation between February and March 2014. Annexation of Crimea is a part of the Ukrainian crisis, the pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine, and the Russo-Ukrainian War. Since 2014, Crimea separated as two Russian federal subjects—the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.
Russian masked troops invaded and occupied key Crimean locations, including airports and military bases, following Putin's orders. The invasion led to the installation of the pro-Russian government in Crimea. Russia leveraged nuclear threats to solidify the new status quo on the ground.
On 27 February 2014, the Supreme Council of Crimea voted to hold a referendum on 25 May. A Ukrainian court declared the referendum to be illegal. Russia massed troops near the Ukrainian eastern border to threaten escalation. Official results of referendum reported about 95.5% of participating voters in Crimea were in favour of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.
The Treaty on Accession of the Republic of Crimea to Russia was signed between representatives of the Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation on 18 March 2014. On 24 March, the Ukrainian government ordered the full withdrawal of all of its armed forces from Crimea. On 26 March many of the Ukrainian military bases and Ukrainian Navy ships were captured by Russian troops.
The United Nations General Assembly declared the Crimean referendum and subsequent status change invalid. Ukrainian government called Russia's actions "a gross violation of international law".