Russia’s president said Monday that the United States is “trying to seize power in Crimea” and that Russia is “taking a step” toward becoming a “third-rate nation.”
The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the United Nations Security Council is “willing to take all necessary measures” to protect the rights of Crimean Tatars, who have long complained of discrimination and repression in the region.
Putin’s comments come as tensions are rising in Crimea, where President Viktor Yanukovych’s forces are attempting to reclaim a region that Russia annexed in 2014.
The Ukrainian president, whose forces have been battling pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, declared a state of emergency on Monday and ordered his troops to leave the peninsula and to disarm.
President Trump and his allies have threatened to impose economic sanctions on Russia if Moscow does not end its actions.