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Putin defends Russian action in Ukraine to Merkel

Source : AP
Last Updated: Sun, Mar 02, 2014 20:15 hrs

President Vladimir Putin has defended Russia's action against "ultranationalist forces" in Ukraine during a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A Kremlin statement posted online said Putin spoke with Merkel by phone Sunday, and that Putin "directed her attention to the unrelenting threat of violence" to "Russian citizens and the whole Russian-speaking population." The statement said Putin had stressed that measures taken by Russia so far were "fully adequate."

Since parliament gave him a green light to use military force in Ukraine late Saturday, Putin has defied calls from the West to pull back his troops, insisting Moscow has a right to protect its interests and those of Russian speakers in the strategic Crimea region and elsewhere in Ukraine.

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