Putin says Crimea vote democratic, issue of vital importance to Russia
MOSCOW, March 18
MOSCOW, March 18 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said a referendum in which Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia was held "in full accordance with democratic procedures and international legal norms".
"The (Crimean) issue has a vital importance, a historic importance for all of us," Putin said after a standing ovation in an address to a joint session of parliament after approving a draft treaty to make Crimea part of Russia.
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