…The Russian president, Vladimir Putin – authorised by parliament to invade Ukraine if necessary to “protect” ethnic Russians – had appeared to make a major concession on Friday by saying he was ready to work with the new Kiev leadership.
“We understand that the people of Ukraine want their country to emerge from this crisis. We will treat their choice with respect,” he said.
Russia, threatened with further western sanctions if it disrupted the vote, also said it had started withdrawing from Ukraine’s border about 40,000 soldiers and dozens of tank battalions whose presence had raised deep suspicions about the Kremlin’s next move.
Ukraine has mobilised more than 82,000 police and 17,500 volunteers to ensure security for the vote, being overseen by 1,200 international monitors… Read More
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