How Quickly Crimea Is Becoming Russia, in Photos

Thanks to these images, we can watch Russia take a Ukraine territory as its own right before our eyes.

March 18, 2014, 9:20 a.m.

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. 


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