As expected, the Crimeans have voted for independence from the Ukraine in order, possibly, to join the Russian Federation. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Russia that there will be consequences if the vote went through, so now we will see what happens next.
The markets are likely to be choppy in response to this (the unknown is always bad for the stock market). How deep will the sanctions be on Russia, and what indirect impact will this have on their trade partners in Europe? Will Russia now try to do a land grab of sorts, or will they withdraw troops?
Much like the debt crisis only a few months ago, there is a lot of political posturing, and no one (except Russian hard-liners) ultimately wants this to get ugly. But it will get uglier before it cleans up. In the meantime, expect that the market will have a down period as all of this shakes out.
Don’t forget, though, that investing is a long-term process. Following your investment objective and diversifying across asset classes, industries, and countries continues to be the way to reduce portfolio volatility.