Russian authorities have said there has been a sharp increase in the number of asylum pleas filed by Ukrainians in the last two weeks since the interim administration took over in Kiev.

At least 143,000 petitions have been received by Moscow's immigration departments.

The Russian authorities have pledged to assess and process the requests as quickly as possible amid the escalating crisis.

"Tragic events in Ukraine have caused a sharp spike in requests coming from this country seeking asylum in Russia. We monitor figures daily and they are far from comforting. Over the last two weeks of February, some 143,000 people applied," said the chief of citizenship desk Valentina Kazakova.

Most of the requests have come from Ukraine's southern region, where the residents are predominantly ethnic Russians.

The asylum report comes when the Russian parliament has formally approved troop intervention in Ukraine in order to protect its interests in the region, citing the increasing unrest in Crimea.

"People are lost, scared and depressed. There are many requests from law enforcement services, state officials as they are wary of possible lynching on behalf of radicalised armed groups," Kazakova adds.

Despite serious warnings from the west, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is determined to send his troops to Ukraine.

Crimea, a semi-autonomous Ukrainian region with a majority of ethnic Russians, is almost under the control of pro-Russian forces.

Ukrainian officials have said if the current situation continues to escalate, it will lead to an all-out war.