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Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the country's actions of moving military forces into Crimea and it was announced that later in the week, a NATO-Russian council would meet to discuss the situation.
Putin said it had a right to occupy the Ukrainian province of Crimea because of its largely Russian-based population and the need to protect them, but said Russia hopes not to have to use any actual force, reports The Associated Press.
"We aren't going to fight the Ukrainian people," he said on the same day that Russian forces had to fire warning shots in the direction of Ukrainian soldiers protesting Russia's actions.
He also continued the Russian viewpoint that the West was backing an "unconstitutional coup," which resulted in the ousting of former President Viktor Yanukovych. He blamed the West for exacerbating the situation, believing it could further hurt Ukraine and Putin said sanctions would not be a smart move against Russia.
According to USA Today, Secretary-General of the U.S.-European military alliance Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that a NATO-Russian council would be gathering soon to look into the situation. He also said that Russia's occupation of Crimea violates the U.N. charter, no matter Putin's arguments or reasons.
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