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Putin calls for use of troops in Ukraine  ? 140

16:50, — Europa

Putin calls for use of troops in Ukraine

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has asked his upper house of parliament to approve the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine.

It follows discussions by the lower and upper house on ways to "stabilise" the situation in Ukraine's Crimea region, where many ethnic Russians live.

Earlier, the Ukrainian defence minister said Moscow had already deployed some 6,000 extra troops to Crimea, BBC reports.

Kiev has accused Moscow of deliberately trying to provoke a confrontation.

President Putin submitted the request "in connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine and the threat to the lives of Russian citizens", the Kremlin said.

He asked the upper house - which constitutionally must approve such a motion - for Russian armed forces to be used "until the normalisation of the political situation in that country".

Crimea is largely Russian-speaking and is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Earlier, the newly-elected pro-Moscow leader of Crimea appealed to Mr Putin for help to ensure peace on the peninsula - a request that would "not leave unnoticed" the Kremlin said at the time.

It follows days of military activity in Crimea during which unidentified, but believed to be pro-Russian, armed men moved in to take over the regional parliament, state television and telecommunications hubs.

Witnesses also spoke of seeing a build up of Russian armoured vehicles and troops in the area.

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