Lavrov calls for 'de-escalation of rhetoric' over Ukraine

Russian troops near the Ukrainian border will return to its permanent bases after completing its military exercises, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, calling for a "de-escalation" of rhetoric.

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Putin signs draft treaty to make Crimea part of Russia

President Vladimir Putin has approved a draft treaty to make Crimea part of Russia, the Kremlin has said.

Putin signed an order"to approve the draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on adopting the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation".

The order was part of a series of steps to bring Crimea into Russia after voters there approved the move in a weekend referendum that Ukraine and the West have called denounced by Ukraine and the West as "illegal".

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