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MOSCOW, April 25 /ITAR-TASS/. In case events take a bad turn in Ukraine’s southeast, Russia will remember the permission to use armed forces in Ukraine given by the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, to President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said Friday.
Churkin emphasized that Russia is not seeking that scenario.
“The key task now is to de-escalate the conflict,” he said.
The Russian parliament’s upper house authorized the use of Russia’s armed forces in Ukraine “until the situation normalizes” in the country on March 1. Putin said a few days later that “so far, there is no need” to use the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.
After a coup in Ukraine in February, new people were brought to power in the country amid riots. President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns the same month.
Crimea, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian leaders and reunified with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which it overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
After Crimea’s incorporation by Russia, protests against the new Kiev authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions, with demonstrators seizing some government buildings and demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.
Kiev is conducting an antiterrorism operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions. The operation is apparently designed to crush pro-federalization protests. Ukrainian officials said law enforcers and soldiers killed five protesters in a clash in the city of Slavyansk on Thursday.