Putin Signs Treaty Adding Crimea to Map of Russia - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Putin Signs Treaty Adding Crimea to Map of Russia

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Vladimir Putin has added Crimea to the map of Russia with the stroke of a pen, two days after its citizens voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine.
 
In an emotional 40-minute speech televised live from the Kremlin, the Russian president said he was merely restoring order to history. He said, "In people's hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia."
 
Putin described the move as correcting past injustice and responding to Western encroachment upon Russia's vital interests. He said the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine had been abused by the new Ukrainian government. And he insisted that Crimea's vote to join Russia was in line with international law and reflected its right for self-determination.
 
Putin said Crimea's secession from Ukraine was no different than Ukraine's own secession from the Soviet Union in 1991.
 
Despite the massing of thousands of Russian troops on Ukraine's eastern border, Putin insisted that Russia has no intentions of invading other regions in Ukraine.
 
The U.S. and its Western allies are condemning Russia's actions as violations of Ukraine's sovereignty.

Crimea was part of Russia from the 18th century until 1954. 

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. is considering rotating American forces to the Baltic region as a step toward ensuring the collective defense of NATO allies against Russian aggression.
 
Biden says that those forces could conduct ground and naval exercises, plus engage in training missions.
 
Biden is speaking after meeting with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Warsaw, Poland. Biden is in Europe to reassure allies who are concerned about Russia's intervention in the Ukrainian region of Crimea. 
 
Biden says the rotating forces are among multiple steps the U.S. is exploring to strengthen NATO. He says in recent weeks the U.S. has augmented its rotation of NATO's air-policing program in the Baltics. He says the U.S. is working to line up other countries to augment that program, too.  (AP)

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