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This happened after call with Merkl of Germany. We wouldn’t actually know if the two events are related, but maybe she wasn’t wearing “mom jeans” on the call…

In a small press conference on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed there were no Russian troops in Ukraine. However, he maintained that he reserves the right to use military action if needed, and he will do so according to international law.

As far as reports of Russian troops on the ground in the Crimea region, which several journalists have confirmed, Putin denied they were part of his regime, citing the fact that their uniforms were unmarked.

“Look at former Soviet republics,” he said, according to the Washington Post’s translation. “You can go to a store and buy a uniform. Were these Russian soldiers? No, they’re very well-trained self-defense forces.”

The Russian president claimed that he is not trying to make Crimea a part of Russia, saying that only people who live in Crimea can determine their future.

Putin did, however, say Ukraine’s interim president, who replaced the ousted Viktor Yanukovych after he fled the country, unlawfully came into power. In his own news conference last week, Yanukovych expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “I am president of Ukraine, elected by the people of Ukraine […] and I remain the legitimate president of Ukraine.”

Earlier today, Putin pulled back thousands of troops that have been lining up along the Russia-Ukraine border over the past few days, Russian news agency Interfax reported, citing the Kremlin’s press secretary.

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