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Putin formally gets Crimea: Ukraine counters, signs deal with European Union

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MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin completed his annexation of Crimea today, signing a law making the Black Sea peninsula part of Russia just as Ukraine itself sealed a deal pulling it closer into Europe’s orbit.

Putin said he saw no need to further retaliate against U.S. sanctions, a newly conciliatory tone that apparently aimed to contain one of the worst crises in Russia’s relations with the West since the Cold War. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry said a few hours later that Moscow will “harshly” respond to the latest round of U.S. sanctions — the conflicting signals apparently intended to persuade the West to end the spat over Ukraine.

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