Russian President Vladimir Putin is featured on a new medal, produced
by a private factory, that commemorates his country’s annexation of
Crimea, according to BBC News.
Opposite Putin’s portrait on the medal is a map of Crimea, which was
a part of neighboring Ukraine before Putin’s Russia took control of
the region in March after Crimean citizens voted to separate from the
rest of Ukraine, according to NBC News.
Russian state media is cited by NBC News as saying the medal is meant
to commemorate the “reunification” of Crimea and Russia.
The international community, including the United States, has
criticized Russia's annexation. Ukraine’s Slovyansk and Odessa are
currently the site of rebel violence, according to CNN, as pro-Russian separatists
battle Ukrainian security forces.
The silver Putin medals, which weigh in at 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds),
are described as limited-edition items. The BBC reports 500 were
produced and the medal is being called The Gathererer of Russian
Lands, a nod to former Russian ruler Ivan the Great.