MOSCOW, April 18 (RAPSI) – Crimean authorities have extended the period in which Crimeans can void the citizenships of Russian Federation for three more weeks, according to the statement posted on the Ministers Council’s Facebook.

Crimea, a largely Russian-speaking republic within Ukraine, was part of Russia until it was given to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1954. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an official address to federal and regional officials that the decision was made in clear violation of the constitutional standards of the time.

Crimea moved for independence from Ukraine after having refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government that came to power following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

On March 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state. The same day, the leaders of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and Putin signed a treaty unifying Crimea with Russia.