Vladimir Putin has authorized a draft treaty for Crimea to join Russia and has formally notified his country's parliament of the Ukrainian province's request in that regard.
The actions follow Putin signing a decree yesterday that recognizes Crimea's independence, which has allowed negotiations on annexation to start.
Putin is due to address parliament later today.
The move also comes despite the U.S. and EU yesterday imposing sanctions on leading Russian officials.
Russia's Micex stock index is +0.6%, while the USD-RUB is +0.2% at 36.495 rubles.