lawmakers revoke right to send troops into Ukraine
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[June 25, 2014]
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian
parliament's upper chamber voted on Wednesday to revoke the right that
it had granted President Vladimir Putin in March to order a military
intervention in Ukraine, where Kiev is struggling to quell a rebellion
by Russian speakers in the east.
A senior lawmaker said the move, which Putin had requested, it
should be seen as an act of goodwill to help facilitate peace
efforts in Ukraine, where Moscow sees itself as the defender of the
rights of the Russian-speaking minority. But he said the authority
could be reinstated at short notice.
"The President of the Russian Federation has enough means under the
constitution and federal law to effectively influence the situation
in Ukraine," Viktor Ozerov, head of the Federation Council's
security committee, told the chamber.
"If, to that end, the president needs to take measures of a military
nature, the Federation Council's Defence and Security Committee is
ready ... to swiftly consider such a motion from the president. But
I hope that will not be required."
The decision, effective immediately, was taken by 153 votes in favor
to one against, with no abstentions.
Russia's parliament rarely deviates from the line taken by Putin.
After the vote, the speaker of the chamber asked whether the
lawmaker who voted against had accidentally pressed the wrong
Ukraine's government has agreed a limited ceasefire with some of the
Russian-speaking rebel groups in eastern Ukraine to allow peace
talks to take place.
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The ceasefire is supposed to last at least until Friday, when Kiev
is due to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union at a
summit where EU leaders may also consider further sanctions against
Russia over its role in Ukraine.
However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has already threatened
to end the truce early because of rebel attacks.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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