Putin doesn't rule out sending in Russian troops
Published on Apr 17, 2014 8:13 PM
MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine's leaders on Thursday of committing a"grave crime" by using the army to try to quell unrest in the east of the country, and did not rule out sending in Russian troops.
But, addressing Russians in his annual televised phone-in, Mr Putin said he hoped he would not need to take such a step, and that diplomacy could succeed in resolving the standoff.
In a marathon session dominated by questions on Ukraine, Mr Putin tempered withering criticism of the Ukrainian leadership with more conciliatory comments about the possibility of a compromise to resolve the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.
He pointedly reminded Europe of its dependence on Russian gas, and defended Russia's annexation of Crimea as, in part, a response to Nato's eastward expansion.
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