Crimea's parliament has formally declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation.
It follows Sunday's controversial referendum which officials say overwhelmingly backed leaving Ukraine.
The government in Kiev has said it will not recognise the results. The US and EU say the vote was illegal and have vowed to impose sanctions on Moscow.
The Crimean peninsula has been under the control of pro-Russia forces since late February.
Moscow says the troops are pro-Russian self-defence forces and not under its direct control.
17 March 2014
It wasn't the inevitability of the outcome that really surprised anyone, but the vote by the Crimean parliament to join Russia could not have been more scripted if it had been done by the Soviet Union
Posted by Brant at 11:38