The Viking, Rurik, founded a state based in Novgorod, which has become regarded as the first predecessor of the modern Russian state. In 1645 a Russian settlement was established on the Sea of Okhotsk, on the coast of eastern Asia. Russia formally recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states on 26 August. The USA barred numerous Russian officials from entering the country on grounds of their suspected implication in human rights abuses. On 6 March the Crimean Supreme Council voted in favour of the territory joining Russia and announced that, contrary to previous announcements, a referendum to seek endorsement of the decision would be held on 16 March 2014. Russia announced reprisal measures, including the expulsion of 10 US diplomats, the adoption of sanctions against a further eight US government officials, and plans to ban the activities of US non-governmental organizations considered to ‘interfere in Russian political life’.