The New York Times — Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, in his first comments since the crisis in Ukraine boiled over, said on Tuesday that he saw no reason for Russia’s army to intervene in eastern Ukraine at the moment, but left open the possibility of military action, saying that Russia “reserves the right to use all means at our disposal to protect” Russian speakers in the country’s south and east if they are in danger.
“We are not going to fight with the Ukrainian people,” he said. “I want you to understand me clearly. If we make such a decision, it will only be for the protection of Ukrainian citizens. And God forbid if any of the servicemen tries to shoot their own people, we will be standing behind them — not in front, but behind. Let them try to shoot women and children!”