Putin says hopes will not have to use force in eastern Ukraine

MOSCOW, April 17 Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:36am EDT

MOSCOW, April 17 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday did not rule out sending Russian troops into eastern Ukraine but said he hoped he would not need to and that diplomacy would serve to resolve the crisis there.

"I remind you that the Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) granted the president the right to use military force in Ukraine," Putin said in televised call-in with the nation.

"I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that we are able to solve all today's pressing issues via political-diplomatic mean." (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk and Polina Devitt and Alessandra Prentice; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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