Russian assembly speaker does not rule out troops going to Crimea

MOSCOW Sat Mar 1, 2014 7:24am EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - The head of Russia's upper house of parliament said on Saturday she could not rule out the dispatch of a limited troop contingent to Ukraine's Crimea region to protect the Black Sea fleet's base there and Russian citizens.

Valentina Matviyenko gave no indication that a decision had been taken on this but said sending troops might be possible following a request for assistance from the pro-Russia authorities in Crimea.

"It is possible, in this situation ... even to send a limited contingent to guarantee the security of the Black Sea fleet and Russian citizens living on the territory of Crimea," Matviyenko said.

(Reporting By Lidia Kelly, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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