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Moscow (CNN) - Never mind what the West thinks - the Kremlin says Ukraine's Crimea region is now part of Russia.
A signing ceremony Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol made it official, the Kremlin said in a statement. The territory, ceded to Ukraine in the Soviet era, is now part of the Russian Federation, it said.
The annexation - which had not been expected to occur until Russian lawmakers met later this week - was met with a howl of protest in Kiev, where Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called it "a robbery on an international scale."
Meanwhile, after masked gunmen killed a member of Ukraine's military, wounded another and placed the rest of the staff of a base in Crimea under arrest, the Defense Ministry authorized its forces in Crimea to use weapons "to protect and preserve the life of Ukrainian soldiers," according to a statement posted on its website.
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The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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