President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear friends,
This is a very joyful and happy day for us!
Citizens of Russia, residents of Crimea and Sevastopol!
After a long, hard and exhausting voyage, Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their harbour, to their native shores, to their home port, to Russia!
I would like to thank the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol for their consistent and decisive stance and for their clearly expressed will to be with Russia. We all felt for them, and Russia gave them its warmth, turned towards them and opened up its heart to them.
We are gravely concerned over the developments in Ukraine. But I believe that Ukraine will overcome all the hardships. We are not just neighbours, we are family and our future success depends on both of us, Russia and Ukraine.
I would again like to thank the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol for their courage and persistence, for staying true to the memory of their heroic ancestors and for carrying their love for our motherland, for Russia over decades.
Together we have done a lot, but a lot more remains to be done, more tasks to resolve. However, I am certain that we will overcome all the problems, and we will do it because we are together.
Long live Russia!