Putin: Russia Has The Right 'To Take All Measures' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Putin: Russia Has The Right 'To Take All Measures'

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Simferopol, Ukraine (CNN) -- Russia does not want to take over Ukraine's Crimea region, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, but he showed no signs of backing down on Russia's presence in the region despite Western pressure.

Putin labeled what had happened in Ukraine an "anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power," and he insisted that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is the legitimate leader of the nation.

He called the parliament in Ukraine "partly legitimate" but said the country's acting President is not.

At the same time, he said he saw no political future for Yanukovych, who resurfaced in Russia on Friday after fleeing Kiev 10 days ago.

Appearing at ease as he addressed a handful of reporters in Moscow, Putin said only the people of Crimea, a Russian-dominated autonomous region, could determine their future.

Putin said that there was no need for the use of the military so far, with not a shot fired, and that any use of military force would be the last resort.

But if Russian-speaking citizens in the east of Ukraine ask for Russia's help, Russia has the right "to take all measures to protect the rights of those people," he said. He repeatedly cast any such intervention as a humanitarian mission.

Military action, he said, would be "completely legitimate" because it was at the request of Yanukovych and in line with Russia's duty to protect people with historic ties to Russia, both cultural and economic.

"Firstly, we have a request of the legitimate President Yanukovych to protect the welfare of the local population. We have neo-Nazis and Nazis and anti-Semites in parts of Ukraine, including Kiev," Putin said.

Russian forces have not fired a shot since they crossed into Crimea, he said.

Putin pointed out what he sees as a double standard by leaders in the United States and other Western countries, saying that the U.S. acted in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya without a U.N. resolution authorizing that action or by "twisting" U.N. resolutions.

And he warned that any damage from sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over its actions in Ukraine would be multilateral.

Kerry arrives in Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in the Ukrainian capital Kiev to show support for the country's government.
    
White House officials say the U.S. will provide $1 billion in energy aid in an economic package to Ukraine.
    
The announcement comes after Russia's state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom announced it would cancel a price discount for natural gas supplies to Ukraine.
    
Gazprom says Ukraine has accumulated a $1.5-billion debt for Russian gas supplies.

Putin says Russia saved Yanukovych's life

   
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's President Vladimir Putin says that his country is ready to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine, but he hopes he won't have to use force in the eastern part of the country.
   
In his first public statement about the crisis, Putin said today that the Ukrainian parliament is legitimate, but the acting president is not.
   
He says Russia gave shelter to fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich) to save his life.
   
Putin also accuses the West of encouraging an anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine and driving it onto anarchy, and he says any sanctions the West places on Russia will backfire.
   
NATO, Russia to have talks over Ukraine tomorrow
   
BRUSSELS (AP) - The NATO alliance and Russia have agreed to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine at a special meeting on Wednesday.
   
The alliance announced that an extraordinary NATO-Russia council will convene at the suggestion of alliance secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Russia agreed to the meeting on Tuesday, when NATO ambassadors were further discussing the crisis among themselves.
   
Rasmussen has said Russia's military intervention in Ukraine is in violation of the U.N. charter and threatens peace and security in Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow reserves the right to use its military to protect Russians there but voiced hope it won't need to do so.
   
Russia took over the Crimean peninsula on Saturday, placing its troops around the region's military bases and border posts.

 UK's Hague: 'Options open' on Russia sanctions
   
LONDON (AP) - Britain's foreign secretary says "our options are open" on stronger measures against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, despite a leaked document seeming to suggest the U.K. had ruled out economic sanctions.
   
London is a key hub for Russian investment, which may make officials reluctant to impose sanctions that would halt the flow of money.
   
A government briefing document photographed as an adviser carried it on Monday said Britain "should not support, for now, trade sanctions ... or close London's financial center to Russians," but would support visa restrictions and travel bans.
   
Foreign Secretary William Hague told lawmakers on Tuesday that the document "should not be taken as a guide to the views of the foreign secretary" or the decisions of the government. He said: "Our options remain open."

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