Russian President Vladimir Putin called acting authorities in Ukraine illegitimate, but said a military intervention in Russia's western neighbor still remains a final resort.
Putin said this at the press conference on Tuesday, for the first time after Russian military intervention in Crimea, RIA reports.
Last month’s ouster of Putin’s counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, was “an anti-constitutional coup and a military seizure of power,” the Russian president said.
Russia deployed last week its troops to Ukraine’s pro-Russian Crimean Peninsula and threatened a larger armed invasion to protect Russian nationals and speakers in the country.
“If mayhem breaks out in eastern Ukraine and people ask for help, Russia reserves the right to react, but this is a last resort,” Putin said at a press conference. “It’s a humanitarian mission, we don’t aspire to enslave anyone.”
Putin also said that Yanukovych, who has fled to Russia, remains Ukraine’s legitimate president.
“The Ukrainian parliament is partly legitimate, but all other authorities aren’t,” he said.