Ukraine is the largest Country in Europe. It has a population of around 45,000.
The Ukraine is split between pro-Russian sentiment in the east and those favoring closer ties to the EU in the west.
A Russian investigative newspaper says the Kremlin was presented with a plan to annex the Crimea and large parts of eastern Ukraine before the downfall of former President Viktor Yanukovich. The Novaya Gazeta newspaper says Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev and his associates could have been behind the plan.
Last October the EU helped forge a gas delivery deal between Ukraine and Russia. Now Russia says Ukraine has fallen behind on payments. If Russia were to turn off the taps, the EU would be hit hard. So plans are advancing to ease dependence on Russian supplies.
Ukraine's currency is teetering on the brink of collapse. In a sign of how bad things are - the Central Bank imposed a ban on all national banks from trading currency until at least the end of the week. Only to then U-turn and reverse the trading restrictions later on Wednesday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Russia is far from meeting the terms of the second Minsk ceasefire, repeating warnings of more sanctions. It follows a day reportedly without any deaths in the Ukraine conflict.