By a unanimous vote, Russia's upper house of Parliament approved the use of military force in Ukraine.
Citing the "extraordinary situation in Ukraine," President Vladimir Putin of Russia asked for approval to send Russian troops into Ukraine's Crimea region to normalize the political situation there, the Kremlin said Saturday. But the request was little more than a formality.
Putin said there are threats to the lives of Russian citizens and Russian military personnel based in the southern Crimean region.
This sign of the Kremlin's readiness to intervene militarily comes just a day after President Barack Obama warned Russia to respect Ukraine's sovereignty."Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe," Obama said Friday. "It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. Valentina Matvienko, the head of Russia's upper house of Parliament, said in televised comments Saturday that she planned to ask Putin to recall the Russian ambassador to the U.S. She cited Obama's statements "threatening Russia." CNN reported that Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted, "Russian military intervention in Ukraine is clearly against international law and principles of European security." The U.N. Security Council was planning to hold informal consultations Saturday to address the situation in Ukraine, CNN said.