|Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses a joint session of Russian parliament on Crimea in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement on Tuesday accepting the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as part of its territory, live TV broadcast showed. (Xinhua/RIA Novosti)
MOSCOW, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of Crimea signed a treaty on Tuesday accepting the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as part of the Russian territory.
The deal, signed during a ceremony at the Kremlin attended by lawmakers,still needs to be ratified by the Federation Council, or upper house of the parliament before it comes into effect.
Russia set the deadline for a transitional period of Crimea's integration into Russia until Jan. 1, 2015.
During this period, Crimea's integration into the economic, financial, credit and legal systems of Russia and the military service on territories of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol will be settled, according to Russian laws.
Earlier in the day, Putin told a joint session of the parliament that Crimea had always been an integral part of Russia, which could not be changed by "time and circumstances."
As for Sunday's referendum during which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to join Russia, Putin said Crimea acted under the UN Chapter which declares the right of a nation for self-determination.
According to Putin, Ukraine lacked legitimate executive power, because the authorities themselves "often work under control from Maidan militants."
Russia could not leave Crimea and its people alone in bad times, otherwise it would be a "treason," he added.
Putin noted there were no clashed happened in Crimea because it was impossible to fight against people's will.
Meanwhile, the Russian leader called situation in Ukraine a mirror of what happened in the world after the collapse of the bi-polar system.
He blamed the U.S. exceptionalism and its use of forces against sovereign states ignoring the UN and the UN Security Council.
"They brought no democracy and freedom but chaos and violence ... We were cheated repeatedly by the West," he concluded.
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