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Thursday, 20 March 2014 | MYT 9:45 PM

Russian lower house of parliament approves treaty annexing Crimea

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament on Thursday 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 upper house will hold a similar vote on Friday, completing ratification of a treaty that was signed by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

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(Reporting By Maria Tsvetkova, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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