Russian lawmakers plead with Putin to protect Russians in Crimea

Russian lawmakers have urged President Vladimir Putin to take steps to stabilize the situation in Crimea and protect Russians there.

Ukraine has already accused Moscow of a "military invasion and occupation," after troops it described as Russian have moved outside regional parliament, airports and other key facilities in this strategic peninsula that hosts a major Russian navy base

Upper house speaker Valentina Matviyenko said Saturday that Russia could deploy additional troops to Crimea to help protect the local population from the new Ukrainian authorities.

The statements came after Crimea's new prime minister, Sergei Aksynov, asked Russia for assistance. He was named prime minister after pro-Russia gunmen seized the regional parliament.