President Vladimir Putin of Russia has been formally been granted permission to use military force in Ukraine. Earlier this week, Russian backed forces took control of the Crimean Parliament, and it was believed that the Russian government was behind the actions. Now, the world sits on the brink of seeing Putin’s next move. The world community has told Putin not to get involved, but it appears he is not listening.
Mr. Putin’s request, largely a formality, signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Even as Mr. Putin submitted his request to the Senate, formally called the Federation Council, it was clear that forces allied with Moscow were largely in control of the disputed peninsula.
Just a few hours earlier on Saturday morning, the newly installed, pro-Russia prime minister of Crimea declared that he had sole control over the military and the police in the disputed peninsula and he appealed to Mr. Putin for help in safeguarding the region.
The prime minister, Sergei Aksyonov, also said a public referendum on independence would be held on March 30.
On a day of frayed nerves and set-piece political appeals that recalled ethnic conflicts of past decades in the former Soviet bloc — from the Balkans to the Caucasus — pro-Russian forces were said to have taken control of a government building in Kharkiv, and a crowd in the center of Donetsk pulled down the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag and raised a Russian one.