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  1. Ukraine Main Page
  2. An Independent Nation
  3. A Struggling Economy and a Troubled Government
  4. Gas Causes an Energy Crisis
  5. Several Rounds of Elections and Another Gas Crisis
  6. Ally of Former Prime Minister Jailed
  7. 2012 Language Bill and New Election
  8. Massive Protests Call for Yanukovich's Resignation
  9. Yanukovich Flees Capital
  10. Russian Troops Sent to Crimea
  11. Putin Announces Annexation of Crimea
  12. Unrest Spreads to Other Eastern Cities
  13. Referendums on Autonomy Held in Other Eastern Regions
  14. Billionaire Businessman Wins Presidential Election
  15. Passenger Jet Crashes in Eastern Ukraine
  16. Offensive by Ukrainian Military Results in Gains; Rebels, Government Agree on Cease-Fire
  17. Pro-Western Parties Dominate Parliamentary Elections
  18. Cease-fire in Tatters Amid Resurgence of Fighting
  19. Expectations Low for Renewed Truce Agreement; Economy in Tatters
Russian Troops Sent to Crimea

On March 1, 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin dispatched troops to Crimea, citing the need to protect ethnic Russians and Russian citizens from extremist ultranationalists, referring to the anti-government protesters in Kiev. He also referred to protesters as "fascists" and "thugs." The Russian troops surrounded Ukrainian military bases and took over government buildings and airports. By March 3, Russia was reportedly in control of Crimea. The move sparked international outrage and condemnation. President Obama called the move a "breach of international law."

In a press conference on March 4, Putin said he didn't see an immediate reason to initiate a military conflict but Russia "reserves the right to use all means at our disposal to protect" Russian citizens and ethnic Russians in the region. In the middle of the crisis, Russia test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, but said it was scheduled before the turmoil began and was not related to the political turmoil.

U.S. secretary of state John Kerry traveled to Kiev in a show of support for the interim government. He visited shrines erected in memory of slain protesters and pledged $1 billion in aid and loans to Ukraine. He scolded Putin's military incursion into Crimea. "It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve," he said. "That is not 21st century, G-8, major-nation behavior." Russia was set to host the June meeting of the G8, but other member nations halted planning for the event.

On March 6, the U.S. imposed sanctions on officials, advisers, and other individuals who have been involved in the underminding of democracy in the Crimea. The sanctions involved revoking visas for travel to the U.S. for those who hold them and refusing visas for those seeking them. The European Union pledged $15 billion in aid to Ukraine. The Crimean Parliament approved a referendum, scheduled for March 16, asking voters if they want to secede from Ukraine and be annexed by Russia. "In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders," U.S. president Barack Obama said in response to the move. Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, threatened to dissolve the Crimean Parliament.

Next: Putin Announces Annexation of Crimea
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