Crimea's landslide vote to secede from Ukraine and join Russia is only the first step in what could result in the most radical redrawing of the map of Europe since Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.
Here is a timeline of what will happen in the coming days, as Kiev and the West react to what they see as an illegal move by Moscow to annex the Black Sea peninsula:
- Monday March 17 -
- Official results of Sunday's referendum will be announced in the morning
- Crimea's regional assembly meets for an extraordinary session to adopt a formal request to join Russia. A delegation will visit Russia.
- Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, is to finalise the preparation of a draft bill on the annexation of Crimea, and distribute it to lawmakers
- US Vice President Joe Biden begins a three-day visit to Poland and Lithuania to meet regional allies over the crisis in Ukraine.
- European foreign ministers meet in Brussels, where they are expected to unfurl a wave of sanctions against Moscow.
- Ukraine's Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya is also expected in Brussels where he will be received by NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen
- Ukraine's parliament meets to study a significant extension to the defence budget
- Wednesday March 19 -
- The European Commission is expected to unveil more details about an aid package pledged to shore up Ukraine's stricken economy
- Friday March 21 -
- Russia's Duma to vote on draft bill on the annexation of Crimea
- The EU and Ukraine are to sign the political portion of an historic EU Association Agreement, according to Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This has not been officially confirmed by Brussels
- Expiry of a temporary truce between Ukraine and Russia that allows Ukrainian soldiers blockaded in their bases to replenish their supplies