March 21 - Ukrainians react with mixed feelings to the annexation of Crimea, while Ukraine and the European Union sign a political association agreement to commit to closer political and economic cooperation. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Mixed feelings in Ukraine -- after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws completing Russia's annexation of Crimea. Some Ukrainians want to defend the Black Sea region, where the atmosphere remains tense: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) IRINA KHANINA, DONETSK RESIDENT, SAYING: "They are great people out there. It was time to stand up. But the fact that the Crimea is going to be taken away is bad. We will go to war and will fight. We will be defending our Ukraine like all normal people do." But Ukraine Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk made strides of his own. Ukraine and the European Union signed a political association agreement to commit to closer political and economic cooperation - the same deal former president Viktor Yanukovich rejected last November (SOUNDBITE) (English) UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER ARSENY YATSENIUK SAYING: "We want to be a part of a big European family and this is the first tremendous step in order for Ukraine to achieve its ultimate goal: the fully-fledged membership." Meanwhile, protesters are still camped out in Independence Square. Among them, uncertainty remains whether the cost of signing an agreement was losing Crimea. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OKSANA ROZENTAL SAYING: "That cost we paid? I don't think we paid with Crimea for the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU. It was a necessary step for Ukraine to get this." Attempting to defuse a volatile situation, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants a dialogue between Moscow and Kiev. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL, BAN KI-MOON, SAYING: "It is vital that all parties refrain from any provocative actions." The crisis is said to be the worst confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.