On the 18th of March 2016 Crimea and Sevastopol celebrated the second anniversary of the joyous event of their reunification with Russia, after a 60-year long separation.
Lada Ray published a very much needed recap of the events that lead to the reunification in:
Following the February Ukraine coup, on March 16th, 2014, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and reunite with Russia. 95% to 97% voted for reunification, depending on the area. Simultaneously, a referendum whether to accept Crimea and Sevastopol as two new subjects of the Russian Federation took place in Russia. 95% of Russians said ‘yes.’
On March 18-19, Crimea and Sevastopol joined the Russian Federation as two newest subjects. The transition went smoothly and peacefully, not a single shot was fired and only two casualties were registered on both sides, shot by a provocateur Ukrainian sniper sent there to attempt inciting violence (by the old CIA playbook).
At the time, 16,000 Russian troops were stationed in Crimea, based on the Black Sea Fleet Sevastopol base lease agreement with Ukraine. Simultaneously, 20,000 Ukrainian troops were stationed on the peninsula as well. Out of these 20,000, about 18,000 Ukraine troops pledged allegiance to Russia, while only 2,000 chose to leave back to Ukraine. They were allowed to leave peacefully and with dignity.