Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin has said that Ukraine's ousted President Viktor Yanukovych sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting that he use the Russian military to restore law and order in his country, radio Liberty reports.
Churkin was speaking at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine, which Russia called for.
He quoted from the letter, dated March 1: "I would call on the president of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine."
Russia has poured troops into Ukraine's Crimea region, sparking outrage and threats of sanctions from the United States and European Union.
Western envoys to the UN rejected Russia's justification, with U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power saying, "The Russian mobilization is a response to an imaginary threat."