Kiev: Here are some key dates in the Ukraine crisis since Russian lawmakers approved the use of armed force in the former Soviet republic.
The action was taken a week after a pro-Moscow regime in Kiev was ousted, and as separatists on the strategic southeastern peninsula of Crimea began a campaign to join Russia.
-- MARCH 2014 --
- 1: Russia`s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, unanimously authorises President Vladimir Putin to deploy Russian troops in Ukraine.
US President Barack Obama warns Putin he has violated international law. Putin cites Russia`s right to "protect its interests and Russian-speaking populations" in Ukraine.
- 16: Crimeans vote overwhelmingly to join Russia as tensions soar in several parts of eastern Ukraine.
- 20: Russia`s lower house of parliament ratifies a treaty incorporating Crimea into Russia, with just one deputy voting against. The upper house gives unanimous approval the next day, and Putin seals the deal.
-- APRIL --
- 6: Pro-Moscow demonstrators seize government buildings in several cities in eastern Ukraine near Russia, including Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk. Tensions have been high in the heavily Russified southeast south since the new pro-Western government took over in Kiev on February 22.
-- MAY --
- 2: More than 50 people are killed in clashes between separatists and Ukrainian security forces.
- 11: Voters call for independence in referendums held in the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk. The polls are rejected as illegitimate by Kiev and the West.
- 25: Many polling stations in eastern Ukraine remain closed during the country`s presidential election, which is won by Petro Poroshenko with 54.7 percent of the vote.
-- JUNE --
- 14: Rebels shoot down a Ukrainian military transport plane, killing all 49 on board in the single biggest loss of life in the two-month insurgency.
- 16: Russia cuts gas supplies to Ukraine over billions of dollars in debts, a decision denounced by Kiev as a form of "economic aggression".
- 20: Poroshenko unveils a comprehensive peace plan that includes a seven-day unilateral ceasefire. Putin voices support but a senior rebel commander rejects it.
- 22: Poroshenko agrees to talks with separatists not implicated in "murder and torture".
- 23: Pro-Russian insurgents agree to a temporary ceasefire and talks.
- 24: Putin asks the upper chamber of parliament to revoke the resolution that allows him to send troops into Ukraine.
Insurgents shoot down an army helicopter killing nine Ukrainian servicemen, according to the defence spokesman in Kiev.
The death toll in the eastern uprising rises to around 390 people, including civilians and fighters on both sides.