KIEV — 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 yesterday 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. Putin’s move 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. The explicit reference to the use of troops escalated days of conflict between the two countries, which started when Ukraine’s pro-Russian president was pushed out by a protest movement of people who wanted closer ties to the European Union. “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. Putin’s call came as pro-Russian demonstrations broke out in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east, where protesters raised Russian flags and clashed with supporters of the new Ukrainian government. Russia’s… Read full this story
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