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

Live text

Reporting:

  • Simeon Paterson 
  • Jeremy Gahagan 
  • Mohamed Madi 
  • Patrick Jackson 

STANDARD 15:18

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.

STANDARD 15:24

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

TWEET 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.

STANDARD 15:23

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

STANDARD 15:27

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.

STANDARD 15:31

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.

STANDARD 15:41

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."

TWEET

Taras Denysenko in Kiev

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