As it happened: Ukraine crisis

Key points

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signs parliament-approved bills completing procedure to absorb Crimea into Russia
  • European Union leaders sign the political section of an association agreement with Ukraine
  • The EU and US announce more targeted sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials
  • Mr Putin says Russia would not take any immediate reciprocal action
  • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Ukraine should pay back $11bn in gas discounts
  • A disputed referendum in Crimea on Sunday appeared to back the peninsula joining Russia. All times GMT

Live text

Reporting:

  • Sarah Fowler 
  • Suzanne Leigh 
  • Mike Hills 
  • Yaroslav Lukov 
  • Richard Irvine-Brown 

STANDARD 08:43

Good morning and welcome to our live updates on the Ukraine crisis, where European leaders are continuing their meeting in Brussels to discuss their latest response to the crisis, as both the EU and US decide to impose further sanctions on Russian officials.

STANDARD 08:43

Russia is considering a "mirror response" to sanctions imposed by the West, Russia's state-run RIA news agency quotes Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin as saying.

"It should be comparable, and I will not deny that we are thinking about it."

STANDARD 08:43

EU leaders are also due to sign the political section of the Association Agreement with Ukraine - the accord that sparked the country's deadly unrest in November and eventually led to the ousting of former President Viktor Yanukovych by anti-government protesters angered over his refusal to sign it.

STANDARD 08:48

A member of the Russian navy (L) stands next to a Ukrainian soldier closing a gate bearing the Ukrainian national coat of arms on a Ukrainian naval base in Sevastopol 21 March 2014

A member of the Russian navy (left) stands next to a Ukrainian soldier closing a gate bearing the Ukrainian national coat of arms on a Ukrainian naval base in Sevastopol.

STANDARD 08:49

Russia has tightened its grip over Crimea, with Russian-allied troops continuing to consolidate their takeover of key navy and military installations in the peninsula.

STANDARD 08:53

Pro-Russian soldiers took over at least two Ukrainian navy ships at anchor in the port of Sevastopol on Thursday. At least 15 men were involved in the assault, a Ukrainian defence ministry spokesman said.

STANDARD 09:02

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov describes the latest sanctions as "absolutely awful," in remarks to the upper house of parliament, Reuters reports. He also said the sanctions would create artificial barriers with the West.

STANDARD 09:03

Mr Lavrov has also urged the upper house to ratify a treaty signed by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to make Ukraine's Crimea region part of Russia.

BREAKING 09:09 Breaking News

The EU and interim Ukrainian government sign Association Agreement on closer political cooperation, EU officials say