Russian lower house ratifies treaty on taking Crimea

MOSCOW - Russia's lower house of parliament on Thursday ratified in a rubber stamp vote the treaty incorporating Crimea into Russian territory, in defiance of the international community's insistence that the peninsula is part of Ukraine.

Just one deputy in the State Duma lower house voted against approving the treaty, which was signed on Tuesday by President Vladimir Putin and Crimea's leaders. The Duma also approved a new law on the absorption of Crimea into Russia.

The treaty and law still need to be rubber-stamped by the upper house Federation Council on Friday. However the Kremlin has said that it considers Crimea part of Russia since the signing of the treaty on Tuesday.