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Russia's President Putin Moves Towards Annexing Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has informed parliament formally of Crimea's request to join the country, the first legislative step towards absorbing the peninsula.

Mr Putin, who signed an order on Monday recognizing Crimean independence, also approved a draft bill on the accession.

It comes after a referendum on Sunday in which Crimean officials say 97% of voters backed splitting from Ukraine.

The EU and US have declared the vote illegal and imposed sanctions.

Travel bans and asset freezes have been imposed on government officials and other figures in Russia, Crimea and Ukraine.

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