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Putin proposes to send Russian armed forces to Ukraine

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich during a signing ceremony after a meetin
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich during a signing ceremony after a meetin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the upper house of parliament to approve sending armed forces to Ukraine's Crimea region, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.

"In connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine, the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation, our compatriots, and the personnel of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory (in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) ... I submit a proposal on using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the normalization of the socio-political situation in the that country," the statement said.

Earlier in the day, Russia's lower house of parliament asked Putin to use "to take measures to stabilize the situation in Crimea and use all available means to protect the people of Crimea from tyranny and violence".

In a separate statement, the Kremlin said Putin has also named Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin as his official representative to oversee the proposal in the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Kevin Liffey)

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