Head of Russia's internal republic of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov is ready to protect the rights of the Russian-speaking people in Crimea that sees disturbances over the change in authorities.
"Ukraine and Russia are fraternal peoples. The majority of people living today in Crimea are Russians.We are always with them and if necessary are ready to come to the rescue. We will stand up for Russians, Cossacks and Chechens no matter where they live," Kadyrov said.
Chechens are "a part of multiethnic and multi-religious Russia" and live "in friendship with all peoples," he added.
"We are called upon to protect our peoples. If necessary, we are ready to go, to be observers. If necessary, we are ready to be peacekeepers and soldiers and protect the people," Kadyrov said.
He also called on Crimean Tatars not to fan up tensions.
"Those who came to the square [outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol] today and say that they were deported, heat up tensions. Chechens, the whole Chechen people, were deported as well. I think if one is unhappy, he should act in line with the law rather than profit from the moment, gather in groups and shout various slogans," Kadyrov said.