Russia’s Federation Council has unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use Russian military forces in Ukraine. The move is aimed to settle the turmoil in the split country.
The upper house of the Russian parliament has voted in favor of sending troops to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which would ensure peace and order in the region “until the socio-political situation in the country is stabilized.”
The debate in the Federation Council has revealed that Russian MPs are united on the issue, with many of them sharing concerns on the recent events in Ukraine. The common notion was that since the power was seized in Kiev, the situation has only been deteriorating with radical nationalists rapidly coming to power and threatening the lives of those opposing their actions, most notably the Russian citizens living in Ukraine.
Taking the decision to use the Armed Forces in Ukraine does not mean that it will be carried out immediately, Grigory Karasin, Putin’s official representative in the Federation Council, has said.
“The approval, which the President [Vladimir Putin] will receive, does not literally mean that this right will be used promptly,” Karasin said.
Violence leaves dozens of protesters injured in Kharkiv
Dozens of pro-Russian protesters have been injured in northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv amid escalation of violence between supporters and opponents of the new government.
Violence further escalated on Saturday after pro-Russia activists broke into the regional governor’s headquarters and raised the Russian flag, after which gunshots were heard both from inside and outside the building of the regional administration.
Some 20,000 people joined the protest against Kiev's new pro-Western government, which claimed power after the ouster of Kremlin-backed leader, Viktor Yanukovych.
Later, almost 300 people launched the assault on the government building, and stones and stun grenades were thrown though it was unclear by whom.
A similar pro-Russia rally has also been held in the eastern city of Donetsk, where tens of thousands of people marched in support of Crimea’s demand for the country to rejoin Russia. Leaflets were distributed in which the people were urged not to obey the new pro-western government in Kiev.
The rallies come as Crimea's new Prime Minister Sergei Aksenov has called for a referendum on March 30, instead of May 25, for the people in the 2.2 million-population region to decide whether they want to remain as part of Ukraine, join Russia or form an independent state.
This comes as Ukraine’s acting president has signed a decree, declaring the appointment of a pro-Russia premier in the Crimea region as illegal.