Leading Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko has called for Europe to take strong action over Crimea's attempt to join Russia, warning that otherwise Moscow would move to take over the rest of Ukraine and destabilise the continent.
"If we allow Russia on March 16 to hold a referendum at gunpoint, on the annexation of Crimea, we will lose Ukraine, we will lose not only Ukraine but stability in the whole world"; Tymoshenko said.
Ukraine opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, who joined her at a conference in Ireland, said he was hopeful for the future of his homeland.
"We are European geographically, historically and mentally also European, unfortunately we are far away from European standards of living. Despite all of that, we are hopeful and we want to become part of Europe", he said.
Eastern Ukraine's Babuchkas, older women who have worked hard to raise families, are said to be the real power in these parts of the world.
Ukranian military commander told ITV News the Russian men "have come to protect us. So why are their guns pointing towards our base?"
Fear is shaping events in Crimea, the multi-ethnic peninsula that finds itself at the heart of a tussle between great powers.