MOSCOW, March 02, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation Saturday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk appointed by Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, noting Russia’s interest to preserve stable and friendly relations with Ukraine, the Russian government press service reported on Sunday.
“Meanwhile, it was noted that Russia retains the right to protect legitimate interests of Russian citizens and servicemen stationed in the autonomous republic of Crimea,” the press service said.
Russian armed forces “are empowered to act according to a mandate given to the Russian president by Federation Council upper house of parliament if necessary,” Medvedev said.
“At the conversation Medvedev also noted responsibility of Ukrainian officials if any unlawful decisions are taken for use of force against Russian citizens,” the press service said.