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Putin Gets Approval to Use Military in Ukraine

KIEV, RUSSIA (AP) -- The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament for permission to use the country's military in Ukraine.
   Putin says the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine's strategic region of Crimea.
The United Nations Security Council will be holding a closed door meeting for the second consecutive day to discuss the current situation in Ukraine.
   The President of the Security Council said informal consultations among council members would begin at 2 p.m. (1900 GMT) Saturday. The council also held closed door consultations on Friday at the request of Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev who referred to "the deterioration of the situation" in the Crimean Peninsula which he said "threatens the territorial integrity of Ukraine."
   Russia's parliament on Saturday approved a motion to use the country's military in Ukraine after a request from President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine has already accused Russia of "a military invasion and occupation" of strategic points in the Crimean peninsula, a Ukrainian territory where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based.
   As a permanent member, Russia has veto power on any council resolution.
President Barack Obama is warning Russia "there will be costs" for any military maneuvers it launches in Ukraine, a move U.S. and Ukrainian officials say they believe to be already underway.
   Officials say Obama may retaliate by canceling a trip to Russia this summer for an international summit and could also cut off trade discussions with Moscow. But it's unclear whether those moves will have any impact on Russia's calculus in Ukraine, which is at the center of what many see as a tug of war between East and West.
   Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says that -- in his words -- "this could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way."

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