20/03/14 15:01 CET
| updated xx mn ago
| updated at xx
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.
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 with Kyiv, Washington and Brussels, where the move is considered illegal and unacceptable.
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