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Russia approves use of military in Ukraine

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 1, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.


Troops in unmarked uniforms stand guard in Balaklava on the outskirts of Sevastopol, Ukraine, Saturday, March 1, 2014. An emblem on one of the vehicles and their number plates identify them as belonging to the Russian military.

KIEV, Ukraine — Russia executed a de facto military takeover of a strategic region in Ukraine as the parliament in Moscow gave President Vladimir Putin a green light Saturday to proceed to protect Russian interests. The newly installed government in Kiev was powerless to react to the swift takeover of Crimea by Russian troops already in Ukraine and more flown in, aided by pro-Russian Ukrainian groups.

The motion follows President Barack Obama's warning Friday "there will be costs" if Russia intervenes militarily, sharply raising the stakes in the conflict over Ukraine's future and evoking memories of Cold War brinkmanship.

"I'm submitting a request for using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine pending the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country," Putin said in his request sent to parliament.

Russia's upper house also recommended that Moscow recalls its ambassador from Washington over Obama's comments.

Ukraine had already accused Russia on Friday of a "military invasion and occupation" in the strategic peninsula of Crimea where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk called on Moscow "to recall their forces, and to return them to their stations," according to the Interfax news agency. "Russian partners, stop provoking civil and military resistance in Ukraine."

The crisis was sparked when Ukraine's deposed president, Victor Yanukovych, ditched a deal for closer ties to the European Union and instead turned toward Moscow. Months of protests followed, culminating in security forces killing dozens of protesters and Yanukovych fleeing to Russia.

Ignoring Obama's warning, Putin said the "extraordinary situation in Ukraine" was putting at risk the lives of Russian citizens and military personnel stationed at a naval base that Moscow has maintained in the Black Sea peninsula since the Soviet collapse.

Putin's call came as pro-Russian demonstrations broke out in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east, where protesters raised Russian flags and beat up supporters of the new Ukrainian government.

Putin's motion loosely refers to the "territory of Ukraine" rather than specifically to Crimea, raising the possibility that Moscow could use military force in other Russian-speaking provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, where many oppose the new authorities in Kiev. Pro-Russian protests were reported in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern port of Odessa.

In Saturday's parliamentary session in Moscow, a deputy house speaker said Obama had insulted Russia and crossed a "red line," and the upper house recommended the Russian ambassador in Washington be recalled. It will be up to Putin to decide whether that happens.

In Crimea, the pro-Russian prime minister who took office after gunmen seized the regional Parliament claimed control of the military and police there and asked Putin for help in keeping peace, sharpening the discord between the two neighboring Slavic countries.

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said the election of Sergei Aksyonov as prime minister of Crimea was invalid.

Ukrainian officials and some Western diplomats said that a Russian military intervention is already well underway after heavily armed gunmen in unmarked military uniforms seized control of local government buildings, airports and other strategic facilities in Crimea in recent days.

Aksyonov, the Crimea leader, appealed to Putin "for assistance in guaranteeing peace and calmness on the territory of the autonomous republic of Crimea." Aksyonov was voted in by the Crimean parliament on Thursday after pro-Russia gunmen seized the building and as tensions soared over Crimea's resistance to the new authorities in Kiev, who took office this week.

Obama called on Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.

He said such action by Russia would represent a "profound interference" in matters he said must be decided by the Ukrainian people.

"The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," he said. Obama did not say what those costs might be.

At the United Nations, the Ukrainian ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, said Friday that Russian transport aircraft and 11 attack helicopters had arrived in Crimea illegally, and that Russian troops had taken control of two airports in Crimea.

Russia has kept silent on claims of military intervention and has said any troop movements are within agreed rules, even as it maintained its hard-line stance on protecting ethnic Russians in Crimea.

Meanwhile, flights remained halted from Simferopol's airport. Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patrolled the area. They didn't stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.

Read Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.


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Capitalist12 says... March 1, 2014 at 7:02 p.m.

Putin had best be careful. Wars are often unpredictable, and Putin may find himself ousted, which is not uncommon—see Khrushchev and Gorbachev. The Russian Revolution would not have occurred without WWI. The war with Afghanistan had devastating effects upon USSR. Putin may find himself in a very unpopular position if this war goes wrong, which could easily occur. Putin already has much opposition to his draconian policies, although most of them are in Lubyanka or prison.
1939 USSR into Poland. 1956 Hungry. 1968 Czechoslovakia. 1979 Afghanistan. 2014 Ukraine.

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cliffcarson says... March 1, 2014 at 8:11 p.m.

"Wars are often unpredictable"

Yes they are Capitalist and if this thing gets out of hand we might suffer unthinkable death and destruction. There would be no winner. When the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs start flying we will all forget how it started.

So now would be a good time to set that record straight.

As I recall there was an agreement between the Western backed Protesters and the current Russian backed Government to observe a cease fire, allow in Protest people into the Parliament, and that there would be elections in December of 2014.

Now lets remember who broke this agreement and set in motion what is ever escalating right now.

Those people - the Western back group - are the ones who reneged on the agreement and began to run a bluff on Putin.

Thus began the unexpected consequences that might lead to global war.

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T6 says... March 1, 2014 at 10:09 p.m.

Sarah Palin predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We should've had her as President.

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djigoo says... March 1, 2014 at 10:42 p.m.

"We should've had her as President."

An incurious serial failure? Yeah. She would've been a GREAT president.

Jesus Christ, do you people even THINK before you click on "Preview comment?"

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Dontsufferfools says... March 1, 2014 at 11:35 p.m.

Russia didn't have to go very far to invade that region of Ukraine, since it has a rather large military base in Sevastopol, where its Black Sea fleet is stationed. I doubt Palin can find Canada on a map, much less Ukraine. She rather famously didn't know that Britain had a prime minister, believing that the queen was head of government. This nugget is from the shocked GOP operative assigned to prepare her for her debate with Biden.

Huff Post
Quizzed by McCain's chief strategist Steve Schmidt on how she would react if Britain decided to withdraw its troops and support for operations in Iraq, Palin responded that she would "continue to have an open dialogue" with the Queen of England. When informed Queen Elizabeth II does not run Britain, Palin asked who does.
Schmidt told her that the elected prime minister, then Gordon Brown, would be the one she would have to speak to about the UK's involvement in Iraq.
In an interview with the LA Times Schmidt confirms the incident took place.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 2, 2014 at 7:08 a.m.

Obama and the football. The football is winning.

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T6 says... March 2, 2014 at 8:42 a.m.

DSF.... Yeah we all know how smart BHO is. No wait, we don't, HE won't release his records. Sarah WAS smart enough to predict Russia would invaded Ukraine under this indicisive, inept person...Even Joe Biden warned Joe Biden warned supporters to gird your loins if Obama was elected because international leaders may test or try to take advantage of him. No truer words were ever spoken because Sissy Boy Obama draws a line and keeps stepping back.
My God, ANYONE and I mean ANYONE would've been a better Prez. than this wannabe dictator.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... March 2, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.

ht tp://conservativevideos.c om/2014/03/remember-obama-mocking-romney-comment-russia-2012-debate/

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FreeSpiritMan says... March 2, 2014 at 1:03 p.m.

T6 ... just what the hell should be done by the president. Come on lay it out for us. You are good at blather, but how are you when logic and thought is required?

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Dontsufferfools says... March 2, 2014 at 1:56 p.m.

T6, sincere advice: Turn away from the screen. Turn off the TV. Call Comcast, ask how to block Faux News. Get professional help. Walk out of the cave. See the sunlight reflect on real objects. Get real. Think.

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