In a move set to further irritate the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin is to address the Crimean parliament on Thursday – during day two of his visit to the annexed region.
A senior Ukrainian minister has described the trip as “unacceptable” reaffirming the country’s position that Crimea is “illegally occupied”.
On Wednesday, Putin held a meeting of the Russian Security Council in Crimea amid deep concerns about Moscow’s intentions for eastern Ukraine.
Kviv claims Russia has amassed up to 45,000 troops close to the border and is preparing to invade.
The US and EU imposed heavy sanctions on Russia following the annexing of Crimea in March.
Pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian fighters continue battle it out for control of two other eastern areas of Ukraine.
Euronews will carry Putin’s speech live from 9am Central European Time on Thursday.