In early 2014, fast-paced developments saw the Ukrainian Parliament vote to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office and call for new elections. In the southern Ukrainian city of Sevastopol, a pro-Russian mayor had been installed and fears were growing that the Kremlin were stoking separatist sentiment.
Previous political agreements had led to the establishment of Russian army bases in Crimea. With the support of pro-Russian civilian militias, Russia tightened its grip on the region. Soldiers moved from one Ukrainian army base to the next to negotiate with the national forces. Violence erupted as pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protest groups faced each other, with deaths and wounded on both sides.
After pro-Russian forces stormed the Parliament building, a referendum on the future of Crimea was announced. The vote concluded in favour of separation. Within four weeks, Crimea had left the Ukraine and become a part of Russia. - Danielle Batist -
Simferopol - 26-02-2014 - Clashes erupt between pro-Russian (L) and pro-Kiev protesters (R) during a rally outside the regional parliament building. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol - 27-02-2014 - Pro-Russian protesters wave a large Russian flag outside the regional parliament building. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol - 27-02-2014 - Residents listen to a speech outside the regional parliament building. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol - 27-02-2014 - A man looks to a crowd of pro-Russian protesters from the window of the regional parliament during negociations on a referendum to decide if Crimea should become Russia. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol - 28-02-2014 - A Russian military convoy drives in the direction of Simferopol. © Pierre Crom
Perevalnoye - 02-03-2014 - Russian forces (L) without insigna surround a Ukrainian military base. Relatives (R) of Ukrainian soldiers gather outside the base. © Pierre Crom
Lubimovka - 05-03-2014 - A Ukrainian officer holds the hand of his spouse through the fence of a military base. © Pierre Crom
Sevastopol - 06-03-2014 - Pro-Russian protesters block the gate of a Ukrainian navy base as residents walk by. © Pierre Crom
Sevastopol - 07-03-2014 - Russian soldiers without insigna surround a Ukrainian military base on the outskirt of Sevastopol. © Pierre Crom
Bakhchisaray - 14-03-2014 - Tatars protest against the Russian invasion during a rally. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol - 14-03-2014 - The morning sun projects the shadow of the statue of Lenin on Lenin square in Simferopol. Militias gather on the square before spreading in the city. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol - 16-03-2014 - A man casts his vote during the referendum to decide if Crimea should become Russia. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol - 16-03-2014 - Pro-Russian residents celebrate the result of the referendum to decide if Crimea should become Russia. © Pierre Crom