1. ITV Report

Crimea referendum no different to Scotland, says information minister

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports

Crimea's new information minister has told ITV News' James Mates that the region's planned referendum is no different to the situation in Scotland and Catalonia.

"It's the same situation as we will see in Scotland and then Catalonia. So Crimea is the first and we will be happy to share our experiences with them," Dmitry Polonsky said.

Dmitry Polonsky said the situation in Crimea was similar to the one in Scotland. Credit: ITV News

The controversial referendum is set to go ahead on March 16 despite the threat of sanctions against Russia from Britain, the United States and other European allies.

Russia held military exercises near the Ukrainian border today as it showed no sign of backing down in the ongoing crisis.

Ukraine's acting president claimed forces are concentrated on the border "ready to invade".

People walk past a poster calling people to vote in the upcoming referendum. Credit: Reuters

Ballot boxes, pro-Russia Propaganda suggesting that staying with Ukraine would be like living under the Nazis have also appeared in the region.

Crimea's banks have already been nationalised, and long queues have formed at cash machines as news spread that £20-a-day is now the limit.

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that there would be a "serious series of steps" against Russia if the issue is not resolved, while German chancellor Angela Merkel warned of "catastrophe" unless Moscow changed course.

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