Viktor Yanukovych last month fled the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, leaving a power vacuum quickly filled by opposition forces that had for months been protesting a government decision to back away from a proposed deal to bolster economic and political relations with the EU
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the aid package was designed to enable “a committed, inclusive and reforms-oriented government in rebuilding a stable and prosperous future for Ukraine"
President Vladimir Putin downplayed fears of a full-blown invasion into Ukraine, but left the option open in his first public statements since Russia’s Federation Council approved sending troops to Ukraine to protect Russian-speakers there
As Russian troops reportedly took control of strategic locations across the Crimean Peninsula in what Ukraine’s interim government has called military aggression, a key question to emerge in the crisis is the extent to which Russia’s naval base in Sevastopol legitimates military movement in the area
While Russian President Vladimir Putin has not formally ordered any military deployments, there is mounting evidence that Russian troops have fanned out across Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which is heavily populated by ethnic Russians opposed to the interim government