Putin gets green light to send troops into Ukraine‎

Agence France-Presse
It's up to Russia's president to decide when to use the right granted to him, a deputy foreign minister says

PROTEST. A demonstrator holds a sign reading "Putin get out of Ukraine" in front of the Russian Embassy in Kiev. Photo by Yury Kirnichny/AFP

MOSCOW, Russia (3rd UPDATE) – President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, March 1,  won approval from Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, to send Russian troops into Ukrainian territory.

 

Putin’s request was approved unanimously. Speaker Valentina Matviyenko also ordered the Council’s foreign affairs committee to ask Putin to recall the Russian ambassador from the United States.

 

The envoy Putin sent to the debate made clear afterwards that it was up to the president to decide when to use the right granted to him.

 

“The approval that the president was given in the literal sense does not mean that this right will be realized quickly,” said Grigory Karasin, a deputy foreign minister.

 

He also expressed hope that Western states who had acted before as intermediaries in the Ukraine crisis would be able to “effect action on the authorities in Kiev to return the situation to a normal and constitutional framework.”

 

The extraordinary session began with a speech by Putin’s envoy Grigory Karasin on the need to approve the request, which was also backed by the heads of the Federation Council’s defence and foreign affairs committees.

Unlike most legislation in Russia, the use of armed forces abroad only requires the approval of the rubber-stamp Federation Council without any need for a preliminary okay from the State Duma lower house.

Putin asked the upper house of parliament to approve the use of Russian troops in Ukraine, the Kremlin said, despite warnings from the US not to intervene.

“In connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine and the threat to the lives of Russian citizens. I submit to the Federation Council a request to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory until the normalisation of the political situation in that country,” the Kremlin quoted Putin as saying in the document.

Putin said that Russia also had to protect servicemen from its Black Sea Fleet which is based on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea “fully in line with an international accord”.

Support from parliament

The request was made on the basis of point “G” of the first part of section 102 of the Russian constitution on allowing the use of Russian troops beyond the borders of the country.

There were no further details on the document and Putin has yet to speak publicly about the situation in Ukraine since the overthrow of president Viktor Yanukovych last week.

Putin’s move came after the heads of both the lower and upper houses of parliament on Saturday urged him to take measures over the situation in Ukraine and in particular the overwhelmingly pro-Russian peninsula of Crimea.

Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko said earlier that it is possible “to send a limited contingent of troops to ensure the security of the Black Sea Fleet and Russian citizens.”

Meanwhile, the speaker of the State Duma lower house Sergei Naryshkin read out a request in the name of all MPs for Putin to use “all possibilities” to restore stability in Crimea.

Ukraine’s new Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh said Saturday the Russian forces are already in the country, accusing Russia of sending 30 armoured personnel carriers and 6,000 additional troops into Crimea.

Unlike most legislation in Russia, the use of armed forces abroad only requires the approval of the rubber-stamp Federation Council without any need for a preliminary okay from the State Duma lower house.

The Kremlin has been rattled by the sudden overthrow of Yanukovych and the installation of pro-EU and sometimes staunchly anti-Russian new authorities in his place, fearing a permanent loss of influence in Russia’s ex-Soviet neighbour.

US President Barack Obama on Friday warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine”. Rappler.com

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