NEWSLINK: Russian lawmakers revoke right to send troops into Ukraine

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[“Russian lawmakers revoke right to send troops into Ukraine” – Reuters – June 25, 2014]

Reuters covers a vote by Russia’s Parliament to formerly rescind a past authorization of military intervention in Ukraine.  The legislators acted in response to a directive from Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The authorization of force could be reinstated in short order if need be.

The Russian parliament on Wednesday revoked the right it had granted President Vladimir Putin in March to order a military intervention in Ukraine, where Kiev is struggling with a rebellion by Russian speakers in the east.

A senior lawmaker said the move, which Putin had requested, should be seen as an act of goodwill to help facilitate peace efforts … But he said the authority could be reinstated at short notice.

Russian legislators often follow the Kremlin in lockstep:

Russia’s parliament rarely deviates from the line taken by Putin. After the vote, the speaker of the chamber asked whether the lawmaker who voted against had accidentally pressed the wrong button.

Putin continues to enjoy popularity among Russian citizens, even as the West accuses Russia of subverting Ukraine and threatens tougher sanctions.

Western powers have accused Russia of allowing pro-Russian fighters to cross into eastern Ukraine along with heavy weaponry to confront government forces, and have threatened to toughen existing sanctions if Moscow does not do more to end the conflict.

A ceasefire in the Ukrainian east has been somewhat shaky.  Meanwhile, Ukraine is moving closer to its free trade agreement with the EU.

Ukraine’s government has agreed a limited ceasefire with some of the Russian-speaking rebel groups to allow peace talks. However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has threatened to end the truce early because of rebel attacks.

The ceasefire is supposed to last at least until Friday, when Kiev is due to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union at a summit where the bloc’s leaders may also consider tougher sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. …

Ukraine-EU ties are one source of contention among Ukraine’s factions.

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