Ukraine: Putin approves draft bill for Russia to annex Crimea

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has approved a draft bill for the annexation of Crimea following a referendum in the peninsula that overwhelmingly supported seceding from Ukraine.

In an address to a joint session of Russia’s parliamentary houses scheduled for 11am GMT today, Putin will deliver his position on the hugely contentious Crimean question. His is expected to set the stage for parliament to approve the absorption of Crimea.

The US and the EU retaliated over the referendum – which the west considers illegal – with sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials on Monday, a move widely seen as “toothless”. Read more

Photograph: Itar-Tass/Barcroft Media