"Considering the will of the peoples of Crimea expressed at the all-Crimea referendum on March 16, 2014, I hereby decree that the Republic of Crimea, where the city of Sevastopol has a special status, be recognised as a sovereign and independent state," Xinhua quoted the decree as saying.
The USA and West imposed further sanctions on Russia
It entered into force upon signature, the press service said.
The USA and West, who called the referendum in Crimea as "illegal", imposed further sanctions on Russia.
Ninety-seven per cent of the voters preferred to rejoin Russia in the referendum which was held on Monday.
Crimea's regional assembly on Monday declared independence from Ukraine and applied to join Russia, saying all Ukrainian state property on the peninsula would be nationalised. [Read here]
"The republic of Crimea appeals to the United Nations and to all countries of the world to recognise it as an independent state," read a document approved by the assembly.