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Exactly 60 years ago, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Khruschyov, with a stroke of a pen, removed the Crimean Republic from the Russian Federation and passed it into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Russian-speaking Crimea -- home to the Kremlin's Black Sea fleet for 250 years -- was handed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954 as a symbolic gift, the explosive significance of which became apparent only after the USSR's collapse.
Until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 transferred the territory to what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Crimea was officially a part of Russia.
Taking into account the mortal danger that threatened Ukraine as a result of the coup d'etat which occurred in the USSR on August 19, 1991, Developing the centuries-old tradition of the State formation in Ukraine, Proceeding from the right to self-determination provided for in the UN Charter and other international legal documents, Implementing the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic solemnly proclaims the INDEPENDENCE OF UKRAINE and the formation of a sovereign Ukrainian State--UKRAINE.
After three years of conflict and civil war, however, the western part of Ukrainian territory was incorporated into Poland, while the larger, central and eastern regions were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922 as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.