Putin says ‘no need’ for military force in Ukraine

March 4, 2014 | By | Reply More

Mar 04, – President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia saw no need to use military force in the Crimea region of Ukraine for now, in remarks apparently intended to ease East-West tension over fears of war in the former Soviet republic.

hromedia Putin says ‘no need’ for military force in Ukraine eu news4The use of force by Russia in Ukraine would be a choice of last resort, Putin said, and sanctions being considered against Moscow by the West would be counter-productive.

Putin told a news conference at his state residence outside Moscow there had been an “unconstitutional coup” in Ukraine and ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich, an ally of Russia, was still the legitimate leader of the country despite giving up all power.

Earlier on Tuesday, Putin ordered troops involved in a military exercise in western Russia, close to the border with Ukraine, back to their bases.

Russian financial markets rebounded after sharp falls on Monday, and the euro and dollar rose in Japan, though Moscow’s forces remained in control of Ukraine’s Crimea region, seized bloodlessly after Yanukovich was ousted last month.

Russia paid a heavy financial price on Monday for its military intervention in Ukraine, with stocks, bonds and the ruble plunging as Putin’s forces tightened their grip in Crimea, whose population is mainly ethnic Russian.

The Moscow stock market fell more than 10 percent on Monday, wiping nearly $60 billion off the value of Russian firms, but Russian stock indexes rose more than 4 percent early on Tuesday before slipping back again slightly, though still up on the day.

Putin said the turmoil in Russian markets was a “tactical, temporary” decision by investors.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will propose ways for a negotiation between Russia and Ukraine to be overseen by a multilateral organization when he visits Kiev on Tuesday.

NATO allies will hold emergency talks on the crisis on Tuesday, for the second time in three days.

GAZPROM PRICES

In further pressure on Kiev, Russia’s top gas producer Gazprom said it would remove a discount on gas prices for Ukraine from April, Interfax news agency cited the company’s chief as saying on Tuesday.

However, Gazprom chief Alexei Miller also said the company could offer Ukraine a loan of $2-3 billion to pay off the country’s debt of more than $1.5 billion after Ukraine said it was unable to pay in full for gas deliveries in February, Interfax news agency said.

Putin said at the weekend that he had the right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian interests and citizens after Yanukovich’s downfall following months of popular unrest. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has a base in Crimea.

But the military exercises in central and western Russia, which began last week and raised fears that Russia might send forces to Russian-speaking regions of east Ukraine, were completed on schedule.

“The supreme commander of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, gave the order for the troops and units, taking part in the military exercises, to return to their bases,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Although the end of the exercises had been planned, the announcement sent a more conciliatory message than much of the rhetoric from Russian officials, who say Moscow must defend national interests and those of compatriots in Ukraine.

Putin is dismayed that the new leadership in Ukraine, the cradle of Russian civilization, has plotted a course towards the European Union and away from what had been Moscow’s sphere of influence during generations of Soviet Communist rule.

Moscow’s U.N. envoy told a stormy meeting of the Security Council that Yanukovich had sent a letter to Putin requesting he use Russia’s military to restore law and order in Ukraine.

Press coordinator for HRO media – Norberto Lluch contributed to this report

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Category: European Crises

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