David McHugh and Vladimir Ischenkov from Kiev, Associated Press, March 1, 2013
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 Saturday 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 [....]
"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 [....]
Russia's upper house also recommended that Moscow recall its ambassador from Washington over Obama's comments [....]
Ukraine had already accused Russia on Friday of a "military invasion and occupation" of the Crimea peninsula, where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk called on Moscow "to recall their forces, and to return them to their stations," according to the Interfax news agency. "Russian partners, stop provoking civil and military resistance in Ukraine." [.....]