The leader of the Crimean Tatar community, Refat Chubarov, said the result of Sunday's planned referendum on transferring the Ukrainian region to Russian rule "has already been decided by Moscow."
"There are troops in the streets. There are 30,000 armed men, armoured vehicles, planes landing with foreign troops, and the administrative buildings have all been seized," he told Reuters today. "It's a fake referendum, an attempt to provide cover for this aggression."
Chubarov, who has called for a boycott of the referendum, described newly installed leaders in Crimea as a "puppet government" and appealed to the outside world to help the Tatar community.
"We have neither the weapons nor the strength to stop this injustice on our own," 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.