Sevastopol Mayor Alexei Chaliy applauds during a meeting of deputies of the State Duma, Russia's lower parliament house, with members of the Crimean parliamentary delegation in Moscow, March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
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The pro-Moscow Crimean politician who signed a document handing control over the Ukrainian Peninsula to Russia in March 2014 said the three years since had been a time of disappointment for many people in the region. Alexei Chaliy, who at the time of Russia's annexation was the self-proclaimed governor of Crimea's biggest city Sevastopol, said he has no regrets about the region becoming part of Russia – a status that Ukraine and most other countries do not recognize.Russia's annexation of Crimea, in the days after an uprising installed pro-Western leaders in the Ukrainian capital, prompted Europe and the United States to impose sanctions on Russia and dragged east-West relations to their lowest level since the Cold War.Crimea voted to join Russia in a referendum that is regarded as illegitimate by Ukraine and Western states.Soon after the vote, Chaliy, dressed in his trademark tight black sweater, attended a March 18 Kremlin ceremony with Russian President Vladimir Putin to co-sign a document on Crimea's status within Russia.Chaliy said he supported the new governor.
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