The decision came shortly after pro-Russian forces took over a Ukrainian marine base in Feodosia, about the last symbol of Ukraine’s military presence in the peninsula.

Ukraine has ordered the withdrawal of its armed forces from Crimea in what amounts to a de facto recognition of losing the region to Russia.

Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov told the Parliament on Monday that the Ukrainian troops and their families would be evacuated from Crimea in the fact of «threats to the lives and health of our service personnel.

The decision to pull out the remaining troops from Crimea came shortly after pro-Russian forces earlier on Monday took over a Ukrainian marine base in the port city of Feodosia, about the last symbol of Ukraine’s military presence in the peninsula.

Crimean authorities said there were no Ukrainian forces left in Crimea.

"All Ukrainian servicemen have either sworn allegiance to Russia or are leaving the territory of Crimea," Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Monday.

Ukrainian troops had been left in limbo in Crimea without any orders from Kiev after pro-Russian forces took control of the region four weeks ago.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that the Russian flag had been raised over 189 Ukrainian military facilities in Crimea.

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Crimea on Monday to inspect the Russian naval base in Sevastopol and to meet with the Ukrainian military. He was quoted as telling Ukrainian servicemen that those of them who wished to serve in the Russian armed forces wound get the same pay and benefits as Russian military.

Meanwhile, Western leaders led by U.S. President Barack Obama gathered in The Hague on Monday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

"We’re united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far," Mr. Obama said on arrival in the Netherlands.

The leaders of the Group of Seven were scheduled to debate excluding Russia from the Group of Eight and slapping other sanctions against it at a meeting on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in The Hague.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has chosen not to attend the summit sending instead his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

With many European leaders resisting economic sanctions that could boomerang against their economies, the U.S. appears to be climbing down on its calls for harsher penalties.

In an interview to a Dutch newspaper on Monday Mr Obama said the West would go for more biting sanctions "if Russia continues to escalate the situation," that is, extends its intervention beyond Crimea.

Ahead of his meeting in The Hague with Mr Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the hope that Russia would continue to cooperate in securing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

"All I can say is I hope the same motivations that drove Russia to be a partner in this effort will still exist," Mr. Kerry said.

Reuters quoted U.S. officials as saying that any further sanctions against Russia "will need to be carefully calibrated to avoid bans on entire sectors, like oil or metals, that could reverberate through the global economy."

The U.S. and its European allies have so far imposed a visa ban and assets freeze on a select group of Russian officials and Kremlin-linked businessmen, apart from canceling a G8 summit in Sochi and suspending military ties and some political talks.

Russia has responded with its own blacklist of several U.S. officials.

More In: World | International | News