Russia's Lower House of Parliament voted Thursday to approve a treaty, signed Tuesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crimean leaders, to annex Ukraine's Crimea region.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presented the treaty for Thursday's Lower House vote, saying, "I am certain that passing the document will become a turning point in the destiny of multi-ethnic nations of Crimea and Russia, who are related with close ties of the historical unity ... These nations joining in the framework of one state will certainly help grow wealth and prosperity and is in line with Russia's interests."
Lawmakers voted almost unanimously in favor of Crimea joining the Russian Federation, with 443 casting votes for the annexation and one vote against.
Russia's Upper House of Parliament will vote on the treaty Friday.