Ukraine Crisis: Putin Lowers Ukrainian Crisis Temperature, Slightly

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To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it’s not the end, it’s not the beginning of the end, but perhaps it’s the end of the beginning of the Ukraine crisis.

Russia President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia would only use military force in Ukraine as a last resort, in remarks apparently intended to ease East-West tension over fears of war in the former Soviet republic, Reuters reported.

Russia however reserved the right to use all options in Ukraine to protect its compatriots there who were living in "terror," Putin said. His comments lifted Russian bond markets after a panic sell-off on Monday.

While Putin said sanctions being considered against Russia would be counterproductive, a senior U.S. official said Washington was ready to impose them in days rather than weeks, Reuters reported.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev and announced an economic package and technical assistance for Ukraine in a show of support for its new government.

Putin said there had been an unconstitutional coup in Ukraine and ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russia, was still the legitimate leader of the country despite giving up all power, Reuters reported.

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