• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 4:43am

Moscow reserves right to use military to protect Russians in Ukraine

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 6:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 4:46am

Moscow reserved the right to use its armed forces to protect Russians in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, and accused the West of encouraging an "unconstitutional coup" there.

In his first comments on Ukraine since its fugitive president fled to Russia, Putin yesterday denied he had already deployed troops there and said he saw no immediate need to invade eastern Ukraine.

Watch: Obama: Russia in "violation of international law" in Ukraine


Putin also held a telephone conversation with President Xi Jinping on the situation. While the Kremlin statement described their positions on the issue as "close", the Chinese foreign ministry said that Xi had urged Putin to engage all parties to resolve the crisis, noting the situation affected both regional and global politics.

Tensions remained high in Crimea, with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers.

In Washington, US President Barack Obama said Putin's rationale for Russia's incursion into Crimea was not "fooling anybody", and said its "meddling" would push states away from Moscow.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who arrived in Kiev to meet Ukraine's interim government, said Moscow would face more pressure if it failed to de-escalate tensions. The US government also announced an aid package of US$1 billion in energy subsidies for Ukraine.

A rift appeared to be opening between the US and Europe on how to punish Russia, with European capitals resisting Washington's push towards sanctions. The American position is supported by parts of eastern Europe and Sweden. But in Brussels, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain resisted calls for trade sanctions.

Putin said ousted president Viktor Yanukovych remained Ukraine's only legitimate leader despite fleeing to Russia, but conceded he lacked any political future. "I think he has no political future, I told him that. As for playing a role in his fate, we did that purely for humanitarian reasons," Putin said.

Stock markets around the world seemed to recover from their fright over the Ukrainian situation, clawing back a chunk of Monday's losses.

Additional reporting by The Guardian, Agence France-Presse


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This article is now closed to comments

The USA, my home country, has no business saying anything about "unlawful wars". We are the Unlawful War Mongers of All of Human History, we make Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan combined look like peaceful pacifists in comparison.
President Putin accused the West of encouraging an "unconstitutional coup" there. Mr. Putin's accusations have some facts to support his argument. The fact of the matter is that Ukraine got itself into this situation due to internal political conflict and strives, though it was strongly instigated by the West. A substantial population in Ukraine is pro-Russia and similarly for the West. China definitely should not and must not support a country which is totally destabilized and interfere with the internal affairs of any country.
Crimea was part of Russia before 1954 and majority Crimea people are Russians. There are significant far-right elements or ultra-nationalists in the movement. Some Ukrainian protesters in Kiev are extremists. They raided the local headquarters of the state prosecutor, the Ukrainian security service and several district police stations. Nine of the dead were police officers. The Interior Ministry said all the police officers had died from gunshot wounds. The Russian government has strong reasons to be concerned with the welfare and safety the Russian-speaking majority in Crimea.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 03/05//14 美國
Change the words "Russian" into "Americans" and all will change......
What hypocrisy!
I say we need someone like Putin to put all these double standards of the West into focus.
Look at all this positively. Russian men die at 55 and their wives have few children, while Chinese workers flow into Siberia.
Vlad has just written the justification for China, someday, to "assist" their citizens in Siberia from bad treatment, which will begin when the Russians begin to sweat.
Russia overplayed their hands here. No need to be dragged in to this mess China.
There will probably be a vote in May, which will take place under less coercive conditions that would be the case in Russia.
Let's withhold our judgment until then. Being proud of being Russian while wanting assurances that they will not be discriminated against by Ukrainians and Tartars doesn't necessarily equal a) welcoming Russian troops of occupation or b) direct rule from a Kremlin run by someone who has become a dictator.
Viktor Yanukovych massacred his own citizens in Ukraine's own version of a Tiananmen Square incident. If there was any case where an unconstitutional takedown of a leader was justified, it was this. The majority of people despise Yanukovych, and they consider him a **** of so many innocents.
The last thing they're willing to do is have themselves forced by another country (let alone Russia) to take him up again.
But Yanukoych was still democratically elected, and if he was wrong, he should be brought to the courts. Another election could be held instead of the bloody demo instigated by the opposition and Tomyshenko's people.
You cannot be supporting western led, illegal uprisings that results in a coup d tat of sorts - that was what the west wanted when Tiananmen happened. They wanted China to break up into small pieces and put the whole country into chaos.
But that didn't happen, and the likes of you are still hankering over it.
That assumes a court that is, itself, free of Yanukoych's control. A relocation to Mother Russia would be most instructive on this.


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