Forty thousand troops are readied as Crimea declares itself independent and claims ownership of Ukrainian state property.
12:19pm UK, Monday 17 March 2014
Ukraine’s parliament has approved a partial mobilisation of troops following Crimea’s referendum supporting a union with Russia.
It said 20,000 troops reserve troops were being called up, plus 20,000 more from the newly-formed National Guard.
Crimea’s regional assembly has already formally applied to join Russia and announced the nationalisation of all Ukrainian state property, including the disbanding of military bases.
“The republic of Crimea appeals to the United Nations and to all countries of the world to recognise it as an independent state,” read a document by the Crimean assembly on Monday.
Nearly 97% of voters said they wanted to break away from Ukraine but Western powers have called the referendum a “sham” and against international law.
Foreign Secretary William Hague warned this morning of “long term costs and consequences for Russia” as European ministers prepare to punish Russian and Crimean officials with travel bans and asset freezes.
America has restated its rejection of the referendum, branding Russia’s actions “dangerous and destabilising” and saying the vote “would never be recognised”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin insists the vote is legal and is set to address the issue at the Russian parliament on Tuesday.
Crimea wasted no time following the landslide vote – officials are expected to fly to Moscow on Monday to discuss joining its powerful neighbour.