Pro-Kremlin activist hold Russian flags near a monument to Red Army soldier as they rally in the southern Russian city of Stavropol, on March 18, 2014, to celebrate the incorporation of Crimea. (AFP PHOTO / DANIL SEMYONOV)
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Now claimed by Moscow as Russian territory, Crimea is still officially deemed part of Ukraine by the rest of the international community, and its separatist leaders have already been hit with a series of EU and U.S. sanctions.Following a disputed referendum in which nearly 97 percent cast their ballots in favor of splitting from Ukraine, the Kremlin said Tuesday that it now considers Crimea to be part of Russia, provoking furious reactions from the West.Here are some key points about Crimea, a strategic Black Sea peninsula that is about the size of Belgium and has a population of around 2 million people.CURRENCY: As of Monday, the Republic of Crimea has two official currencies – the Ukrainian hryvnia and the Russian ruble.SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Crimea still depends on Ukraine for 85 percent of its water supplies and 82 percent of its electricity, according to Mikhaylo Gonchar, an energy expert at Kiev's Nomos Centre.
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