In early March 2014, Russian soldiers in the Crimea were given early wages,
Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia Tatyana Shevtsova said in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) publication.

According to her, at the end of February 2014, there was a threat of blocking money in the accounts of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation opened in Ukrainian credit organizations.

Shevtsova noted that then "the immediate monitoring of the situation was organized, and in cooperation with large Russian banks, the military found solutions that allowed them to save budget money."

“Meanwhile, in the shortest possible time, we organized financial support for the Black Sea Fleet through the field institutions of the Bank of Russia and provided for the conversion of budget financing balances in hryvnias into rubles. At the same time, financing of the Black Sea Fleet through a foreign bank was discontinued, which made it possible to organize financial support in a timely manner and without disruption for military units deployed in the Crimea and Sevastopol,” Shevtsova said.

Reference: At the end of February - beginning of March 2014, unmarked military forces deployed from Russia and the Crimean bases of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation occupied the Crimean Peninsula. Armed formations were also created from the Russian and Crimean "Cossacks", who called themselves the "self-defense of the Crimea." On March 16, 2014, a pseudo-referendum on the status of the peninsula took place on the territory of the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, on the basis of its rigged results Russia included the Crimea in its composition. Neither Ukraine, nor the European Union, nor the United States recognized this vote and believe that Russia annexed the Crimea.

On October 7, 2015, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed the law, according to which February 20, 2014 is considered the beginning of the temporary occupation of the Crimea and Sevastopol.

The former acting Defense Minister of Ukraine Ihor Tenyukh said that Russia began preparations for the annexation of the Crimea back in 2010. According to him, the preparation for the annexation began with personnel cleansing, disbanding of commissariats and staffing the Navy with contract servicemen from the Crimea.

Source: Krasnaya Zvezda