Russia speeds through approval of Crimea annexation treatyUpdated: 2014-03-21 21:59:30 KST
Rapid developments on the Ukrainian crisis have been taking place over the past hours.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty on Crimea joining the Russia, after both houses of parliament overwhelmingly approved the treaty.
This means, at least from the Kremlin's perspective, that the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has been officially completed.
Meanwhile, pro-Russia forces continue to take over more Ukrainian military bases in Crimea, as Ukraine speeds up its withdrawal of soldiers and their families from the region.
Amid all this, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon traveled Friday to Kiev to broker a possible diplomatic solution.
The UN chief urged both sides to engage in direct and constructive dialogue to resolve the crisis.
He also urged Russia to respect the integrity of Ukraine's territory.
Earlier Thursday, Ban met with President Putin in Moscow, also urging him to reach a peaceful settlement.
This comes as the United States and Russia doled out a fresh round of sanctions on respective key officials.
The European Union, meanwhile, says it will publish its extended list of sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials on Friday.
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