The latest developments in the Ukraine crisis have come at lightning speed.
Fewer than 48 hours passed between Crimea’s vote to secede from Ukraine on Sunday and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement Tuesday that Russia would annex the peninsula. The Crimean parliament has already voted to move the peninsula to Moscow time (two hours ahead) starting March 30, and made the ruble its official currency. In Moscow, a mass rally is in full swing in Red Square to celebrate Crimea’s accession, which is expected to be formally ratified soon.
But nothing shows just how quickly Crime has changed hands as scenes from the region on the day of Putin’s announcement. In the streets, Russian citizens cheer and chant “Russia!” and any hint that the region was once Ukraine’s is being swiftly stripped away. The region’s minority population of Crimean Tatars, which has resisted the Russian intervention, could only watch the situation unfold.