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Russia’s lower house of parliament will pass legislation “in the very near future” allowing Ukraine’s southern Crimea region to join Russia.

Sunday’s referendum was monitored by observers from twenty five countries. They were invited by local ethnic-minority communities but not recognised by any international organisations.

Euronews met a group of Armenian observers at a polling station in Simferopol.

One of the observers explained: “It is possible to hold a referendum cleanly and correctly, the EU are taking that road with Scotland.”

“It is possible, but in the former Soviet republics everything happens spontaneously, it may be a different road to democracy,” the observer added.

Kyiv said Moscow’s build-up of forces in Crimea was in “crude violation” of an international treaty, and announced plans to arm and train twenty thousand members of a newly-created National Guard.

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