Russian parliament revokes Putin's 'right' to invade Ukraine

Wednesday 25 June 2014 22.02
1 of 2
A politician said the Federation Council stood ready to reinstate the authority if needed
A politician said the Federation Council stood ready to reinstate the authority if needed
Vladimir Putin yesterday requested the removal of the 'right'
Vladimir Putin yesterday requested the removal of the 'right'

The Russian parliament's upper chamber has voted to revoke the right that it had granted President Vladimir Putin in March to order a military intervention in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government is struggling to quell a rebellion by Russian speakers in the east.              

Justifying the move, which Mr Putin had requested, a senior politician said it should be seen as an act of goodwill to help facilitate peace efforts in Ukraine.

However, he said that the Federation Council stood ready to reinstate the authority if needed.
              
The vote was carried by 153 votes in favour to one against.

Russia's parliament rarely deviates from the line taken by Mr Putin.

After the vote, the speaker of the chamber asked whether the politician who voted against had accidentally pressed the wrong button.

More than half of Russians believe Mr Putin is doing a good job as president, versus 16% who expressed that view in April 2013, it said.

It also found that two-thirds of respondents would like Mr Putin to stay on as president for a fourth term when his current term ends in 2018. Just 14% were opposed.           

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.

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.

The drive to move closer to the EU faces strong opposition in Ukraine's east - where historic ties with Russia are stronger than in the west - and was one of the factors that triggered the separatist rebellion.