Putin: Russia May Invade Ukraine to Protect Locals
By Sergei L. Loiko
April 17, 2014, 3:31 a.m.
MOSCOW — Russia may invade southeast Ukraine to protect the local population, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Speaking live at his annual call-in show in a Moscow television studio, Putin implied he reserves the right to move Russian troops into the neighboring country on behalf of pro-Russian residents.
“We know quite well that we must do our best to protect their rights and help them independently decide their fate and we will struggle for that,” Putin said. “I remind you that the Federation Council of Russia [the upper house of Parliament] empowered the president to use the armed forces in Ukraine.”
But Putin added that he hoped he would not have to resort to that.