Russia may send a limited armed force to Crimea to ensure security of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and Russian citizens staying there, Federation Council Chair Valentina Matviyenko says.

"Perhaps in this situation we could grant the Crimean government's request and send a limited contingent there to provide security of the Black Sea Fleet and Russian citizens living in Crimea," Matviyenko said on Saturday.

At the same time, she admitted that "this decision surely rests with our president, the supreme commander-in-chief."

"But, taking into account the situation, even this option cannot be ruled out. We should protect the people," Matviyenko said.

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