Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the unification of the Crimean Peninsula with the Southern Federal District, previously known as the North Caucasian Federal District, TASS reports.
The motives are not immediately clear. Russia incorporated Crimea into its territory in March 2014, following what it calls a local referendum where an overwhelming majority allegedly voted to break away from Ukraine.
The move triggered sanctions from the West, with the latter and Ukraine refusing to recognize Crimea's inclusion into Russian territory. In a subsequent move on Thursday, Putin also dismissed his country's ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov.