Moscow • The Russian parliament's lower house has given its near-unanimous approval to the country's annexation of Crimea, ignoring threats from Western powers of more sanctions.
The Kremlin-controlled State Duma voted 445-1 Thursday to make Crimea a part of Russia following a quick discussion in which members assailed the Ukrainian authorities.
The vote came as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Moscow for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. "I'm deeply concerned about the current situation," Ban said at the start of the talks.
The incorporation of Crimea into Russia needs to be rubber-stamped by the upper house and receive a final endorsement by Putin, formalities expected to be completed by the end of the week.