March 21 - Russia's upper house of parliament unanimously approves a treaty on annexing Ukraine's Crimea region. Paul Chapman reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs into law the treaty to annex Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. The signing came shortly after the annexation was unanimously approved by the upper house of parliament. An international outcry, targeted sanctions and the threat of more from the European Union and the U.S. have so far failed to shake Moscow's plans. In Crimea itself the situation is tense a day after Russian forces seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in Sevastopol harbour. The flagship Slavutich was seen anchored there on Friday with the Ukrainian flag flying but it was blockaded by ships of the Russian Black Sea fleet. At the Perevalnoye military base in Crimea, one of two seized under the control of Russian forces, there were signs Ukrainian soldiers were preparing to leave. Many who live and work at the base felt the interim government in Kiev had given up on them and offered no real alternative. Some were joining queues to add their names to those who want to apply for Russian passports, others bent on staying Ukrainian regardless.