rtr3g42s copyNever mind what the West thinks — the Kremlin says Ukraine’s Crimea region is now part of Russia. A signing ceremony Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol made it official, the Kremlin said in a statement. The territory, ceded to Ukraine in the Soviet era, is now part of the Russian Federation, it said. The annexation — which had not been expected to occur until Russian lawmakers met later this week — was met with a howl of protest in Kiev, where Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called it “a robbery on an international scale.” Meanwhile, masked gunmen killed a member of Ukraine’s military, wounded another and placed the rest of the staff of a base in Crimea under arrest, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported. Yatsenyuk warned the political standoff was careening toward war, while interim President Oleksandr Turchynov told reporters that Putin is “mimicking the fascists of the last century” by annexing Crimea. MORE