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Russian parliament's upper house unanimously approves annexation of Crimea


Members of the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, applaud for their voting during a plenary session in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 20, 2014. The Kremlin-controlled State Duma voted Thursday to allow Crimea to join Russia following a quick discussion in which members of the Kremlin-controlled chamber assailed the Ukrainian authorities. The merger needs to be rubber stamped by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin, mere formalities expected to be completed by the end of the week. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) (The Associated Press)

The upper house of the Russian parliament has approved Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

The Federation Council voted unanimously to incorporate Crimea after Sunday's hastily called Crimean referendum, in which residents of the Black Sea peninsula overwhelmingly backed breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia. Ukraine and the West have rejected the vote, held two weeks after Russian troops had taken over Crimea.

The move, already approved by the lower house, is set to be completed later Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin's signature.

The U.S. and the European Union have responded by slapping sanctions on Russia. U.S. President Barack Obama ordered a second round of sanctions Thursday targeting members of Putin's inner circle and a major bank supporting them.

International agencies downgraded Russia's outlook, and Russian stock plummeted Friday.