3.Now, there is growing unrest in the east of Ukraine, which also has close ties to Russia and counts many Russian speakers among its residents. There is increasing talk of the possibility of a Russian invasion. How did we get here?
5.Russian officials repeatedly argued the need to defend Russian speakers in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine from anti-Russia attacks. Many Ukrainians condemned the move as an "invasion" and dismissed claims of attacks.
7.Troops with no identifiable markings, who first appeared days before in Crimea, increased their street presence. Putin and others denied the official presence of Russian troops and called the soldiers local "self-defense" units.
8.These unmarked soldiers — who Ukraine claimed were sent by Russia — now had control over key government buildings and the airport in Crimea.
9.By March 2, an estimated 16,000 Russian troops were in Crimea, surrounding Ukrainian military bases. Ukraine ordered its armed forces on full alert and said Russia had “effectively declared war.”
10.Western condemnation poured in, with the U.S. and EU threatening political and economic sanctions against Russia for effectively annexing Crimea in violation of international agreements.
11.On March 3, the White House offered $1 billion in aid to support Ukraine’s interim government to hold fair elections, implement economic reform, combat corruption, and withstand "politically motivated trade actions by Russia.”
12.The next day, Putin gave his first remarks on Ukraine since ordering troops into Crimea. In a defiant speech from Moscow, he affirmed the Kremlin’s right to use all options in Ukraine, but adding “there is no reason yet” to use military force.
13.Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev the same day to meet with Ukraine’s interim government. He reiterated support for a diplomatic solution and condemned Russia’s “act of aggression."
14.On March 6, Obama announced an expected set of sanctions against Russia, including visa bans and an executive order against Russian officials "who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine.”
16.As the referendum neared, violent clashes broke out across the east, where ties to Russia are strongest. In Odessa, Donetsk, and Kharkiv, pro-Russia crowds captured administrative buildings and called for autonomy from Kiev.
17.On March 13, protests in Donetsk turned deadly. Some claimed pro-Russian activists had provoked the violence, in hopes of bolstering Russia’s claim that it needed to intervene in order to protect Russian speakers and return calm.
19.Lavrov said after the meeting that Russia had no plans to "invade" Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement that same day saying Russia "reserved the right" to protect its "countrymen" in Ukraine.
21.On March 17, Obama issued a new executive order imposing fresh sanctions and visa bans on 11 Russians and Ukrainians, including seven high-ranking Russian government officials, for their role in the Crimea referendum and Ukraine escalation.
22.Crimea's referendum is over — but pro- and anti-Russia activists continue to clash in Ukraine's east, as Russian troops and armored vehicles amass along the border. In Kiev, many worry that region may be the new flashpoint.
Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor