Russian lawmakers have approved President Vladimir Putin's request for the use of troops in Ukraine.
Putin says the move is necessary to protect the region's ethnic Russians, as well as Moscow's naval base. (Via RT)
Kiev had already accused Russia of an armed invasion of the peninsula — claiming there are 6,000 extra Russian troops currently stationed there. (Via CBS)
"The Russian federation has begun an overtly, aggressive campaign against our country. Under the pretense of military training, they've brought military force into the autonomous republic of Crimea." (Via Sky News)
The presence of these unidentified gunmen in Crimea — where Russia maintains a naval base — have added to the fears of a Russian military intervention. (Via Euronews)
According to The Wall Street Journal, Russia’s parliament Saturday issued an appeal for Putin "use all available means to defend the population of Crimea from disorder and violence."
Those statements came, according to CNN, after the Crimea prime minister asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his help “in maintaining peace and accord in Crimea."
The newly-elected Crimean leader was installed after armed men stormed the Crimean parliament building Thursday. He's reportedly declared the region's police and border guards will answer only to him. (Via YouTube / mer abood)
Crimea is Ukraine’s only autonomous region — meaning it has its own constitution and parliament. It was essentially a gift given by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to Ukraine back in 1954.
And to this day, a majority of the citizens there consider themselves ethnic Russians and speak the language. For the past week, crowds of pro-Russian demonstrators have been calling for secession. (Via Channel 4)
President Obama has warned Moscow there would be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.