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MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. The presidium of the Legislators Council under Russia’s parliament will on Monday discuss the course of integration of Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia’s legal environment.
"On the eve of the anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, the key issue on the agenda of the presidium’s meeting will be the course of integration of the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol into Russia’s legal environment," the Duma press service reported.
The Council of Legislators is a consultative body established in May 2012 in Russia for a coordinated legislative effort to ensure implementation of the state policy in the sphere of delimitation of powers in various spheres in the country.
Crimea's reunification with Russia
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.
Western nations have subjected Russia to sanctions over the situation in Ukraine. Russia has constantly dismissed accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after the referendum in mid-March 2014, as well as allegations that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine.