Authorities in Crimea voted to accelerate secession from Ukraine and unanimously backed a law that declared the territory to be part of the Russian Federation on 6 March 2014.
The cabinet had decided to take the decision by referendum in 10 days. MPs of Crimea had voted by 78 votes to nil for the territory to leave Ukraine.
A referendum on more autonomy for the region due on 30 March 2014 was brought forward to 16 March 2014. Now the residents had the option to unify the Black Sea peninsula with Russia.
After the law was initiated, the Crimean government asserted that all Ukrainian troops on the territory of Crimea should either leave or be treated as occupiers. Crimea is planning to introduce the rouble and readopt Russian state symbols.
Russia has welcomed the decision of the Crimean Government and Russian Parliament DUMA had begun work on a bill that would make it easier for Russia to join new territories.
While on the other hand, the Ukrainian government had started the procedures to dismiss Crimea's assembly and to block the referendum. They are claiming the move as completely illegal and anti-constitutional.
The move was highly criticized by member of European Commission and USA. They opined that the proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the constitution and international law.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is an autonomous parliamentary republic within Ukraine and is governed by the Constitution of Crimea in accordance with the laws of Ukraine.
The capital is the city of Simferopol, located in the center of the peninsula. Crimea's area is 26,200 square kilometers.
Who: Crimea Government
When: 6 March 2014