Putin to Obama: Russia ready to protect interests in Ukraine

MOSCOW Sat Mar 1, 2014 6:14pm EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Barack Obama that Moscow reserved the right to protect its interests and those of Russian speakers in Ukraine if they come under threat, the Kremlin said.

In a statement posted online on Sunday, the Kremlin said Obama had expressed concern about the possibility of Russian military intervention in Ukraine after the upper house of parliament authorized Putin to deploy the military in Ukraine.

"In response to the concern shown by Obama ... Putin drew attention to the provocative, criminal actions by ultra-nationalists, in essence encouraged by the current authorities in Kiev," the statement said.

It said Putin had underlined that there are "real threats to the life and health" of Russians in Ukraine.

"Vladimir Putin stressed that if violence spread further in the eastern regions of Ukraine and in Crimea, Russia reserves the right to protect its interests and those of Russian speakers living there," it added.

Protesters opposed to the new authorities in Kiev staged rallies in a number of cities on Saturday in the mostly Russian speaking regions of southern and eastern Ukraine. Crimea is Ukraine's only region with a majority ethnic Russian population.

The Kremlin said Putin also had telephone conversations with French President Francois Hollande and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Putin told Ban Russia would resort to "whatever measures are necessary in compliance with international law" if violence is committed against Russian speakers in Ukraine.

Putin also underlined to Hollande what he said was the real threat facing Russian citizens in Ukraine since Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich was deposed by leaders Russia has poured scorn on.

(Reporting By Timothy Heritage, Editing by Peter Graff)

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Comments (3)
The_Prophet wrote:
President Reagan was correct in describing the old Soviet Union as the evil empire. Well, the new Russia is back as the new evil empire. Since Tsar Putin has led Russia, they have supported a bunch of murderous dictators and despots, just like Putin. His excuses for invading Ukraine are reminiscent of Hitler’s same excuses after he invaded Czechoslovakia in the 1930’s. Beware, o free world, of Russia’s old and revitalized ambitions.

Mar 01, 2014 7:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MrParadeRain wrote:
The Ukrainian protests leading to the President fleeing the capital were a statement by the Ukrainian people that they wanted European alliances, not Russian alliances. But Crimea is like a country within another country (Ukraine) called “The Autonomous Republic of Crimea.” And unlike the rest of Ukraine, they seem to prefer a Russian alliance – probably because the majority population is ethnically Russian.

It’s a pity this can’t be solved with a simple vote of the Crimean people. After all, it isn’t the two countries (Russia/Ukraine) currently beating plowshares into swords that matter. It’s the Crimean people who matter. Do they want to be:

1) Russian.
2) Ukrainian.
3) a truly separate country – Crimea.

Given the massive debt within Ukraine and the Crimeans chanting largely for Russian intervention, I think the Ukrainian President should fence off Crimea, tell Crimeans they are in charge of their own fate, and make a speech to their people, saying, “Be careful what you wish for … you may get it.”

Mar 01, 2014 8:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
mcmorgasen wrote:
It doesn’t matter how many world leaders with whom President Putin talks, this is, what it is. Putin, with knowledge of fore-thought and premeditation, embedded Russian Special Ops and military into Crimean civil society… thousands of them. He co-opted a weak Ukrainian President at the collective expenses of the Ukrainian AND Crimean people. Further, Putin is using the Nazi forces/communities to stir unrest and protests in key cities in Crimea.

As for the Soviet behavior, they are back to their old tricks. I took a screen shot of an RT article with a browser address different from the article title, unless I am naive and the Russian military includes Nazi forces, then there would be no discrepancy whatsoever.

This is the link:

This is the title of the article…
“Russian senators vote to use stabilizing Nazi forces on Ukrainian territory”

And, personally, I believe Putin has re-built the Archipelago (Pussy Riot visit to the US).

If we ever thought we had a friend in Putin or even anything in common with him, we need to think again.

Бог в помощь российским, крымских и украинский народ.

Mar 02, 2014 12:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
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