At the recent White House Press Secretary conference, Sean Spicer disappointed with an 'Obamesque' spiel on Crimea. Zakharova wouldn't have a bar of it... In March 2014, following a US instigated government coup in Kiev, Crimeans voted with an overwhelming majority for independence from the Ukrainian state. Around 84% of eligible Crimeans voted in the referendum, with 97% in favour of unification with the Russian Federation. Sevastopol, a city with a longstanding history of Russian military battles and victories, had a 90% turnout, and also voted 97% in favour.
Crimea became a part of the Russian Empire, following the Turko-Russian war of 1783, ending the 300 year rule by the Ottomans. The next key date, is that Crimea was gifted to the Ukraine in 1954 by Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev, who was ethnically Ukrainian, but did not have sufficient quorum members in the Supreme Soviet (USSR parliament) for the decision to be voted on legitimately. It was given away by decree - a one man decision essentially.
Admittedly, Kruschev couldn't have foreseen that one day the Soviet Union may not be one unified territory. Kruschev could not have foreseen that in this way - the historic Russian naval city, Sevastopol, may end up in NATO disposition.
Accusations of “annexation” quickly replaced principles of legal rights to self-determination in Western media. The right to self-determination is enshrined in the UN Charter and other instruments of international law.