MOSCOW President Vladimir Putin has not yet decided whether to deploy Russian troops in Ukraine, his spokesman was quoted as saying on Saturday after the Federation Council upper house of parliament empowered him to do so.
"After the decision by the Federation Council, the president has received the full arsenal of means needed to resolve the situation, in terms of using (military) forces and in terms of taking decisions about (withdrawing) the head of our diplomatic mission in the United States," Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying.
"At the same time, it's necessary to underscore that the president has not yet taken either decision. These decisions have not yet been taken."
The news agency Interfax also cited Peskov as saying that the Kremlin hopes that there will be no further escalation of the crisis.
(Additional reporting by Steve Gutterman; Writing by Lidia Kelly, Editing by Timothy Heritage)