Putin addresses crowds after signing treaty to include Crimea in Russian Federation

Russian President Vladimir Putin told thousands gathered in Moscow’s Red Square on Tuesday that Crimea was returning home.
“Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home port, to their native shore, homeward, to Russia,” he told the cheering crowd after signing a treaty for Crimea to join Russia.

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vladimir Putin, Russian President:
“Today is a very joyful and festive day. Dear Russian citizens, dear Crimeans, Sevastopol residents, after a hard, long, tiring trip Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home port, to their native shore, homeward, to Russia.”

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vladimir Konstantinov, Crimean Parliament speaker:
“We have come back home! We have returned Crimea to Russia! Are you waiting for us at home? (Crowd shouting “Yes!”) Thank you for support, thanks to the Russian leaders, thanks to the Russian people.”

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Olga (no surname given), Moscow resident:
“(I came here) to enjoy a great historic moment. It’s really unprecedented, we’ve been waiting so long for the reunion of Crimea and Russia, our motherland. It’s a great joy today. It will be written in historical records, in school books and we are proud that we are witnessing these events.”

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vladislav Tuzov, Moscow resident:
“My father, my grandmother and all my relatives from father’s side were born in Sevastopol. I served in the navy there. I received my first uniform there. I often go there on vacation. My relatives live there, in Crimea. I’m so glad about this great victory!”

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of upper house of Russian parliament:
“Today the President of the Russian Federation has signed a treaty with the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol between Russia, the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. As the treaty has already started temporarily functioning and will come into force on a full scale after ratification, starting from this moment you have become residents of the Russian Federation and we congratulate you from our hearts.”

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of upper house of Russian parliament:
“We, parliament members, deputies, members of the Federation Council (upper house of Russian parliament) will do everything necessary, will do our best to complete all legal procedures by the end of this week.”

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Sergey Aksyonov, Prime Minister of Crimea’s regional government:
“Today Crimeans are becoming members of the family, are coming back home. It’s our joint success, so we congratulate you, thank you. Crimea is at home today. Hooray, comrades.”

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