Previously, we wrote “SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP).” But Ukraine no longer controls Crimea, and AP datelines should reflect the facts on the ground.
Therefore, effective this week, we are using the city name and “Crimea”: “SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (AP).”
Why not “SEVASTOPOL, Russia” if Russia formalizes its annexation of the territory? The reason is that Crimea is geographically distinct from Russia; they have no land border. Saying just the city name and “Crimea” in the dateline, even in the event of full annexation, would be consistent with how we handle geographically separate parts of other countries. For instance, we just say “Sicily” and “Sardinia” in datelines — “PALERMO, Sicily (AP)” — even though they are part of Italy, and “Guadeloupe” in datelines even though that island is part of France.