Thousands of people have gathered in the capital of Ukraine’s Crimea region to promote a “yes” vote in next weekend’s referendum on joining the Russian Federation.
The crowd in Simferopol was entertained by a Russian navy band, as they chanted slogans and waved Russian flags.
Meanwhile, in Kyiv, there have been defiant words from prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk – who is expected to travel to the US this week to discuss the Crimea crisis.
“We won’t let go of a single centimetre of Ukrainian land. Let Russia and its president know this,” he said.
Yatsenyuk made the comments during a speech commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Taras Shevchenko, regarded as one of the country’s greatest poets.
Back in Simferopol, around a hundred people have been rallying against Crimea joining another country. They are shunning Russia and want to preserve Ukrainian unity instead.