In early 2014, a series of rapid developments unfolded in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovych from office due to widespread protests and allegations of corruption, eventually leading to a call for new elections.
In the southern Ukrainian city of Sevastopol, a pro-Russian mayor had been installed, raising concerns about potential separatist sentiments fueled by the Kremlin's influence.
Prior to these events, political agreements had allowed the establishment of Russian military bases in Crimea. Backed by pro-Russian civilian militias, Russia intensified its control over the region. Russian soldiers engaged in negotiations with Ukrainian national forces, moving from one Ukrainian army base to the next. Tensions escalated as pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protest groups confronted each other, resulting in casualties on both sides.
Following the storming of the regional Ukrainian parliament by Russian forces, a staged referendum on the future of Crimea was declared. The fraudulent outcome favored Crimea's separation from Ukraine, and within four weeks, Crimea transitioned to become a part of the Russian Federation.
Sevastopol, March 07, 2014 - Russian soldiers without insignia surround a Ukrainian military base. © Pierre Crom
Simferopol, March 16, 2014 - People cast their ballot during the referendum to decide whether Crimea should become part of Russia. © Pierre Crom