1 March 2014 Last updated at 15:17

As it happened: Ukraine crisis

Key Points

  • Russia's parliament has approved a request from President Vladimir Putin to deploy Russian troops in Ukraine
  • The unrecognised new prime minister of Ukraine's Crimea region asked Mr Putin for assistance to maintain peace
  • Pro-Russian protests have been reported in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Odessa - some have led to violent clashes
  • Leading Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitschko has urged parliament to debate national mobilisation
  • Troops believed to be Russian have surrounded key installations in Crimea
  • US President Barack Obama warned Moscow any military intervention would come at a cost to Russia
  • All times GMT

    Welcome to our coverage of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine as Russia's president asks his parliament to send in troops on the grounds of protecting Russian lives. With the biggest crisis in the former Soviet Union since the 2008 war in Georgia taking a dangerous new turn, stay with us for live news updates, expert analysis and colour from our correspondents in the field and your comments.


    Vladimir Putin made his request to send troops in a brief statement released by his office. Read the full translation.

    1525: Daniel Sandford

    tweets: Most Russian military plates we have seen were number 90. The APCs (armoured personnel carriers) in Balaclava are number 21. Different unit.


    Russian soldiers are already on the territory of Crimea as part of the country's Black Sea Fleet. These soldiers were spotted outside a Ukrainian border post in the Crimean town of Balaclava.

    Soldiers believed to be Russian near Balaclava, Crimea, 1 March

    Russia's upper house of parliament has approved Mr Putin's request to use Russian forces in Ukraine - less than two hours after the request was made.


    Unlike most legislation in Russia, the use of armed forces abroad only requires the approval of the upper house, with no need for a preliminary okay from the lower house (the State Duma), AFP news agency notes.


    From Balaclava to Moscow, the BBC has correspondents on the ground across the region. Get a snapshot of their reporting.


    The situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border is stable, Ukraine's border service has told Interfax news agency. It is quoted as saying: "Border control has been stepped up at the border checkpoints to look for extremists and extremist groups."

    J Bentley in Loule, Portugal

    emails: Someone need tell the Ukrainians beguiled by EU promises that the EU countries who fell for the same promises are now in desperate trouble with millions out of work and starving as is now happening in Portugal where I live

    Taras Denysenko in Kiev

    tweets: Is it safe to say we are now at war with Russia?


    Ukraine's far-right party Freedom is talking of "Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea", Interfax reports. "Russia is behaving as a downright international terrorist which has taken more than two million Ukrainian residents hostage and continues to present increasingly more unjustified demands," it said in a statement.

    Bob Van Sant in Simferopol, Ukraine

    emails: We are American citizens and have been living in Simferopol, Ukraine for 18 years. Since Wednesday, we have watched with broken hearts the events that seem to grow steadily worse. It is sad to see the invasion of foreign troops into the sovereign nation of Ukraine. I hope the world wakes up and not let this become another Georgia.


    People gathered again in the Ukrainian capital Kiev to commemorate the dead of the protests which forced out President Viktor Yanukovych this month. At least 88 people were killed, many of them shot dead in clashes with security forces.

    People remember the dead of the protests in Kiev, 1 March

    Ukraine's security council will convene an emergency session over the crisis in Crimea - Interfax.


    European foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Ukraine in Brussels on Monday, diplomatic sources have told Reuters news agency.

    Lars Lindberg

    emails: It would seem that the considerable goodwill Russia built up via the Olympic Games in Sochi now quickly goes up in smoke, all 30 billion euros of it


    Vitali Klitschko, the former boxer now contending to be Ukraine's next president, has urged parliament to mobilise the army, AFP news agency reports. "Parliament must ask the army's commander-in-chief to declare national mobilisation after the start of Russian aggression against Ukraine," he said in a statement. He also asked for the UN Security Council to gather urgently for talks on the crisis.

    Sergiy in Kiev, Ukraine

    emails: Now as Russia has declared a state of war to Ukraine, we need support from EU, USA and Nato. I think that future of Europe is now dependent on actions on Ukraine.

    Ben in Southampton

    emails: A Russian takeover of Ukraine isn't surprising, it's a historical pattern for Russia to send the troops in when a nation under their thumb starts to wiggle free. The fact that Crimea is mostly Russian gives them the perfect excuse!


    The speaker of Russia's upper house, Valentina Matviyenko, is taking steps to ask President Putin to recall the Russian ambassador from the US - AFP.


    Yuri Vorobyov, Ms Matviyenko's deputy, said during a debate broadcast live by Russian state TV that US President Obama had "crossed a red line" and "insulted" the people of Russia. "I think it is necessary to demand that the Russian president recall the Russian ambassador from the United States of America," he said.

    Mark Davies in Dunfermline, Scotland

    emails: So a member of the UN Security Council is preparing to invade a sovereign state without any UN Resolution, or any provocation? And can veto any sanction against itself? Democracy in action.

    Sergey in Moscow

    tweets: Obama and the West must understand in regard to Ukraine crisis - do not trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.

    16:08: BBC Business Correspondent Joe Lynam

    reports that the state-controlled Russian energy company Gazprom has hinted it may increase the price it charges for gas supplied to Ukraine. A spokesman said Ukraine's unpaid debts meant that it might "not keep the current discount on gas".

    16:10: BBC Business Correspondent Joe Lynam

    reports that the IMF has said that any financial loans to Ukraine might not be paid before April. Ukraine has said it needs $35bn (£21bn) in financial support over the next two years.


    Armed men - and journalists - are an increasingly common sight on the streets of Balaclava, in Crimea.

    Armed men and journalists on the streets of Balaclava, in Crimea
    Darren Wolff in Swansea

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Dangerous game brinkmanship.


    The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, echoing calls from Crimea's new leader earlier in the day, said Russia could send a "limited contingent" of troops to Crimea - a phrase used during the start of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.


    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin says that the vote to allow President Putin to use troops in Ukraine does not mean it will happen quickly. "The consent which the president received does not mean literally that this right will be used quickly," said Karasin, whom Mr Putin put in charge of the proposal earlier on Saturday.


    The UN envoy to Ukraine has aborted his mission, saying tensions made it impossible to visit Crimea as requested by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Robert Serry made the announcement shortly before Russia's upper house of parliament approved a request from President Vladimir Putin to be able to use military force in Ukraine.


    The UN Security Council will meet at 14:00 local time (19:00 GMT) for its second emergency discussion on Ukraine in 24 hours. The UK's ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, tweeted that the meeting was called at London's request.

    A suspected Russian soldier in Sevastopol

    Ukraine said that Russia has already sent 6,000 troops to Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis. Here, a man believed to be Russian stands guard near Sevastopol.

    Stuart Bolus, UK

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay The #UN is utterly powerless to do anything here, Veto member states operate on a higher level where the rules don't apply


    You can follow the BBC's reporters in Ukraine, including Gabriel Gatehouse and Daniel Sandford, using this twitter list.

    Martin Collinson

    tweets: @kleviy It's very easy to start these things. As US and UK found elsewhere, less easy to control them or walk away. @BBC_HaveYourSay


    The UN Security Council also met on Friday over the Ukraine crisis. At the session, Ukraine accused Russia of illegal military incursions onto its territory, while US and European delegations warned Moscow to withdraw any new military forces deployed in neighbouring Ukraine. Russia, however, said any military movements by Russian forces there were in compliance with its agreement with Kiev on maintaining its naval base there.


    The Kemlin says no decision has been taken yet on sending troops to Ukraine, reports the RIA Novosti agency. "It is the president who takes the decision", says a Kremlin spokesman.

    Protesters clash in Kharkiv 01/03/2014

    Pro-Russian and pro-Maidan protesters have clashed in the eastern city of Kharkiv. Demonstrators attempted to storm a local government building, and dozens have been injured, according to AFP.


    Refat Chubarov, the head of the Crimean Tatar Majlis (assembly) says he is calling on Tatars to stay at home and not form resistance units. "Literally hours remain until catastrophe," he said to the Gazprom-owned Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, via BBC Monitoring. Tatars make up about 12 percent of Crimea's population and have sided with the anti-Yanukovych protesters - now government - in Kiev.

    Sue, Merseyside

    emails: In citing the need to protect Russian citizens, Russia has again misused the emerging norm of responsibility to protect; these actions hurt not only Russia's international image but also damages the image of this emerging humanitarian norm.

    The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse

    tweets: EU foreign ministers to meet over #Ukraine crisis Monday, officials tell RTR. Speed this is moving, could be all over by then.

    Pro-Russian activists in Donetsk 01/03/2014

    Pro-Russian protests have broken out in the city of Donetsk too, as protesters planted Russian flags at an administration office in the city centre.


    Footage has appeared, via Reuters, that appears to show men wearing paramilitary uniforms and carrying the Russian flag, forcing their way into the Crimean Centre of Investigative Journalism. The men later identified themselves as representatives of the "Crimean Front," a hitherto unknown organisation.

    16:44: Christopher Miller of the Kyiv Post

    tweets a photo purportedly of Ukraine Interior Ministry riot control officers being given Russian passports.

    A wounded supporter of Ukraine's new government is seen after clashes with pro-Russian protesters in central Kharkiv

    A wounded supporter of Ukraine's new government is seen after clashes with pro-Russian protesters in central Kharkiv.


    Interfax-Ukraine reports that the far-right group Right Sector, which was actively involved in anti-Yanukovych protests, has called for full-scale mobilization in response to Russia's decision to back the use of troops, saying that their armed struggle will be "against the empire but not Rusophobic" - via BBC Monitoring

    People take part in a funeral procession for a victim killed during the recent clashes with the riot police, at Independence square in central Kiev

    Attention may be focused on the south and east of Ukraine now, but activists have still not left Kiev's Independence Square. Here, people take part in a funeral procession for a victim of the recent clashes there.

    17:00: US Senator John McCain

    tweets: "Russian Senate backs Putin request to send troops to #Ukraine- straight out of Soviet playbook. Don't want Cold War back, but Putin seems to"

    17:03: UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

    tweets: "Russian Ambassador has been summoned to the Foreign Office over #Ukraine"

    Pro-Russian protesters drag an injured man during clashes with supporters of Ukraine's new government in central Kharkiv.

    Pro-Russian protesters drag an injured man during clashes with supporters of Ukraine's new government in central Kharkiv.


    Chris Mason, the BBC's political correspondent, says the meeting between Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Russian Ambassador is expected to take place this evening. The Foreign Secretary described the possible use of military force by Russia as "a potentially grave threat to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine."


    A Kremlin spokesperson tells Reuters that Moscow hopes there will be no further escalation of the situation in Ukraine.

    Pro-Russian protesters attack a supporter of Ukraine's new government during a rally in central Donetsk

    Pro-Russian protesters attack a supporter of Ukraine's new government during a rally in central Donetsk. Pro-Russian protests have also been reported in Kharkiv Ukraine's second-largest city, as well as Luhansk and the southern port of Odessa.


    "Most Russians believe the Crimea is theirs - Putin has acted on his belief" writes author Masha Gessen in the Guardian's Comment is Free blog.

    17:24: The BBC's Kevin Bishop

    in Sevastopol tweets: You've probably never heard of the Budapest Memorandum. It may crop up in conversation in the next few days.


    The Budapest Memorandum is a treaty concerning the nuclear disarmament of Ukraine and its security relationship with the US, the UK and Russia. In return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons to Russia, the signatories agreed to respect Ukraine's independence and sovereignty, among other things. Read the text on the Polish Ministry of foreign affairs' website.

    17:32: BBC's Kevin Bishop

    in Sevastopol tweets: "Life News: Donetsk City Admin approves holding a referendum on situation in Donbass + formation of local police force."


    AFP reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is concerned by developments in Crimea. "What is happening in Crimea worries us," Merkel said in a speech in Berlin in which she stressed the importance of "preserving the territorial integrity" of Ukraine. The agency also said she spoke to Ukraine's Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk by phone on Saturday.

    17:41: US Senator John McCain

    has released a strongly-worded statement: "Every moment that the United States and our allies fail to respond sends the signal to President Putin that he can be even more ambitious and aggressive in his military intervention in Ukraine. There is a range of serious options at our disposal at this time without the use of military force. I call on President Obama to rally our European and NATO allies to make clear what costs Russia will face for its aggression and to impose those consequences without further delay."


    The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has announced on Twitter that EU foreign ministers will hold crisis talks in Brussels on Monday. It will be the second such EU meeting on Ukraine in two weeks. The first meeting led to sanctions being imposed on Viktor Yanukovych's government.


    The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has tweeted "we oppose decision to deploy Russian troops on Ukrainian soil against wishes of #Ukraine gov and condemn any act of aggression." In a separate tweet, he added "We support Ukrainian gov's request for urgent consultations in accordance with 1994 Budapest Memorandum signed by UK, US, Russia, #ukraine."


    Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the crisis in Ukraine. This page will no longer be updated, but coverage will continue on the rest of the BBC News website.


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