UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Ukraine is accusing Russia of ``a military invasion and occupation'' of strategic points in the Crimean peninsula and is asking the four other permanent U.N Security Council members -- the U.S., Britain, France and China -- for help.
The council held meetings on the crisis today.
Russia's parliament has approved the use of troops to protect its interests in Ukraine.
Moscow says Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized in today's 90-minute phone conversation with President Barack Obama that real threats exist to the life and health of Russian citizens in Crimea and that Russia has the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking people in that part of Ukraine.
Obama asked Putin to pull back the Russian forces there.