Map of the Crimean Peninsula
Crimea (/; Russian: Крым, Ukrainian: Крим, Krym; Krym; Crimean Tatar: Къырым, translit. Qırım; Turkish: Kırım; Ancient Greek: Κιμμερία/Ταυρική, translit. Kimmería/Taurikḗ) is a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that is almost completely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. It is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson, to which it is connected by the Isthmus of Perekop, and west of the Russian region of Kuban, from which it is separated by the Strait of Kerch though now linked by the Crimean Bridge. The Arabat Spit is located to the northeast, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov. Across the Black Sea to its west is Romania and to its south Turkey.
Crimea (or the Tauric Peninsula, as it was called from antiquity until the early modern period) has historically been at the boundary between the classical world and the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Its southern fringe was colonised by the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Crimean Goths, the Genoese and the Ottoman Empire, while at the same time its interior was occupied by a changing cast of invading steppe nomads and empires, such as the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths, Alans, Bulgars, Huns, Khazars, Kipchaks, Mongols and the Golden Horde. Crimea and adjacent territories were united in the Crimean Khanate during the 15th to 18th century.
In 1783, Crimea became a part of the Russian Empire as the result of Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became an autonomous republic within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR. During World War II, Crimea was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast and then, in 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SFSR.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was formed as an independent state in 1991 and most of the peninsula was reorganized as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, while the city of Sevastopol retained its special status within Ukraine. The 1997 Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet partitioned the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet and allowed Russia to continue basing its fleet in Crimea: both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russian's Black Sea Fleet were to be headquartered in Sevastopol. Ukraine extended Russia's lease of the naval facilities under the 2010 Kharkiv Pact in exchange for further discounted natural gas.
In March 2014, following the Ukrainian revolution and subsequent takeover of the territory by pro-Russian separatists and Russian Armed Forces, a referendum, deemed unconstitutional by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court, was held on whether to leave Ukraine and join Russia; the official result was that a large majority of Crimeans wished to join with Russia. Russia then incorporated the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol as federal subjects of Russia. While Russia and ten other UN member states recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation, Ukraine continues to claim Crimea as an integral part of its territory, supported by most foreign governments and non-bindingUnited Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262.