Here Al Jazeera America has the fast-breaking update.
It did not end with Crimea. As Russia consolidates its power in the recently absorbed part of Ukraine, it appears that President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions go beyond retaking an old territory.
Armed men have commandeered cities in eastern Ukraine — centers of pro-Russian sentiment — and are grabbing public buildings and proclaiming themselves the new authorities in those regions.
The Ukrainian government in Kiev has threatened an armed response in the form of anti-terrorist operations. A deadline has passed for pro-Russian groups to surrender the buildings. There have been no signs of government forces pushing back against the Russian sympathizers, and Ukraine’s interim President Oleksander Turchynov has asked for help from United Nations peacekeeping forces.
Many Western governments have made it clear they think the provocations in Karkhiv, Donetsk and other eastern Ukrainian cities have been backed, supplied and created by Russia. The Crimean occupation, quickly followed by a referendum, did not diminish tensions at this important crossroad of East and West.
As the government in Kyiv tries to keep the country united and world leaders seek to avoid military conflict, above is a timeline of some of the major events that have led to the current situation in Ukraine.