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Putin Defies West, Declares Crimea Independent

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree recognizing Ukraine's Crimean peninsula as "a sovereign and independent country."Mr. Putin signed the decree Monday, defying Europe and the United States just hours after Washington and Brussels imposed their first sanctions on Russian officials for backing Crimea's secession vote on Sunday. . Crimean officials said the final ballot count showed 97 percent of voters favoring independence from Ukraine. Senior White House...

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