Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has overwhelmingly approved a treaty to annex Crimea from Ukraine, taking the Black Sea peninsula a step closer to joining the Russian Federation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov presented the treaty to representatives and spoke of the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and EU: “Unilateral sanctions have never done any good. They are illegitimate. The UN Security Council is the only body which can adopt decisions on compulsory measures towards a foreign state.”
The Federation Council or upper house will hold a similar vote on Friday, completing the ratification process of a treaty that was signed by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
An integration period of some nine months will follow.
The annexation has caused outrage in Kyiv, Washington and Brussels where the move is considered illegal and unacceptable.