Dr James Summers examines the international legal position of Russia’s occupation of the Crimean region of the Ukraine and the possible status of the peninsula following from this. On 27 February Russian forces, wearing balaclavas to hide their identity, are believed to have moved beyond Russian naval facilities on the peninsula to take control of public buildings, airports and highways linking it with the rest of the Ukraine. These soldiers have gained effective control of the territory, while Ukrainian forces are currently under siege in their barracks. This takeover swiftly followed the overthrow of Ukrainian President Victor Yukanovych, who fled the country in the wake of an uprising in the capital Kiev on 22 February. Protests against Yukanovych erupted from his decision on 21 November 2013 not to sign a trade agreement with the EU in favour of financial support from Russia. Yukanovych, who drew support from the Russophone eastern regions of Ukraine, was seen by Moscow as an important ally.