SIMFEROPOL (Reuters) - The decree making Crimea part of Russia is already in force and Ukrainian troops still on its territory will be treated as occupiers and forced to surrender or leave, the Russian-controlled region's deputy prime minister said.
"The only lawful armed force on the territory of the Crimea is the Russian armed forces," Rustam Temirgaliev said.
"Armed forces of any third country are occupiers. The Ukrainian armed forces have to choose: lay down their weapons, quit their posts, accept Russian citizenship and join the Russian military. If they do not agree, we are prepared to offer them safe passage from the territory of Crimea to their Ukrainian homeland."
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Alison Williams)