Simferopol, Ukraine (CNN) -- [Breaking News Update, 10:02 a.m. ET]
(CNN) -- Russia's upper house of parliament voted Saturday to approve the use of military force in Ukraine. The vote was unanimous.
[Original Story, published 9:23 a.m. ET]
(CNN) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the upper house of parliament for approval to send Russian troops into Ukraine's Crimea region to normalize the political situation there, the Kremlin said Saturday.
Due to the "extraordinary situation in Ukraine," Putin said, there are threats to the lives of Russian citizens and Russian military personnel based in the southern Crimean region.
It comes on the same day that the new pro-Russian leader of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, asked Putin for help in maintaining peace in the Black Sea peninsula -- where Russia has a major naval base at Sevastopol.
International concerns are mounting that Moscow may intervene militarily in the crisis, despite warnings from the United States and other Western powers that it should respect Ukrainian sovereignty.