Russia Approves Military Action in Ukraine
KIEV, Ukraine -- Russia's parliament approved a motion to use the country's military in Ukraine after a request from President Vladimir Putin as protests in Russian-speaking cities turned violent Saturday, sparking fears of a wide-scale invasion.
The motion 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.
***Click play to watch an exclusive analysis from CBN News Senior International Reporter George Thomas, who is on the scene in Kiev, Ukraine.
Russia's upper house also recommended that Moscow recalls its ambassador from Washington over Obama's comments.
Ukraine had already accused Russia on Friday of a "military invasion and occupation" in the strategic peninsula of Crimea 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."
The crisis was sparked when Ukraine's deposed president, Victor Yanukovych, ditched a deal for closer ties to the European Union and instead turned toward Moscow. Months of protests followed, culminating in security forces killing dozens of protesters and Yanukovych fleeing to Russia.
Ignoring Obama's warning, Putin said the "extraordinary situation in Ukraine" was putting at risk the lives of Russian citizens and military personnel stationed at a naval base that Moscow has maintained in the Black Sea peninsula since the Soviet collapse.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.