Armed Russian forces arrest Ukrainian army officers during an operation in Simferopol on March 18, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 18 signed a treaty claiming the Black Sea region of Crimea as Russian territory as Ukraine warned the showdown had entered a “military stage” with the killing of one of its soldiers on the peninsula.
Ukraine’s new government called Russian president Vladimir Putin a threat to the whole world after he added Crimea to the map of Russia on Tuesday.
Ukraine’s interim president Oleksandr Turchynov compared Putin to 20th Century fascists.
Prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk then said that Russian soldiers are turning a political conflict into a military one.
Pro-Kremlin activists rally at the Red Square in Moscow, on March 18, 2014, to celebrate the incorporation of Crimea. President Vladimir Putin justified the incorporation of Crimea, citing everything from ancient history to Russia’s demand for respect to Western double standards.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin told thousands gathered in Moscow’s Red Square on Tuesday that Crimea was returning home.
“Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home port, to their native shore, homeward, to Russia,” he told the cheering crowd, after signing a treaty to annex the Black Sea peninsula, where residents voted on Sunday to secede from Ukraine in a referendum dismissed as illegitimate in the West.
The treaty will have to be endorsed by Russia’s Constitutional Court and ratified by both houses of parliament, but Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said the procedure could be completed by the end of the week.
“Starting from this moment you have become residents of the Russian Federation and we congratulate you from our hearts,” she told a government delegation from Crimea, saying the treaty “has already started temporarily functioning”.
While Putin’s actions were met with cheers in Crimea and Russia, Ukraine’s new government called Putin a threat to the whole world and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that the US and Europe will impose further sanctions against Moscow.
This report compiled with information from the Associated Press.