Almost the entire Crimean Peninsula has been outside the control of Ukrainian authorities since late February 2014, when Russian Armed Forces and pro-Russian separatists occupied the region. In March 2014, a popular referendum in support of reunification with Russia (See annexation to Russia) was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, although the vote was disavowed by Ukraine and did not enjoy widespread international recognition. Within days, Russia absorbed the peninsula. Russia and six 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 of the international community.
Under Ukrainian law, Crimea is considered an autonomous parliamentary republic within Ukraine, which is governed by the Constitution of Crimea in accordance with the laws of Ukraine. The capital of the autonomous republic is the city of Simferopol, located in the center of the peninsula. The city of Sevastopol is a separate administrative unit and is considered a city with special status, like the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev.