European Union foreign ministers will meet to consider sanctions against Moscow as the West bitterly denounced Crimea's vote to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.
The United States and the EU last night said they would not recognise the result of a referendum which they regard as "illegitimate" and a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty.
Following the overwhelming vote in favour of joining Russia, Crimea's pro-Russian prime minister Sergey Aksyonov said the peninsula's parliament would formally apply to Moscow to be annexed.
Putin's decree recognising Crimea as a 'sovereign country' has triggered the toughest sanctions against Russia since the Cold War.
With over half of the votes counted, over 95% of people in Crimea have voted to become part of Russia, election officials have said.
At some point the West's warnings will have to become deeds, part of the problem is they don't know which Putin they're dealing with.