During his annual public call-in show, the Russian president said he would send troops into Ukraine to 'protect' locals if necessary.
Kiev says it has begun operations to displace pro-Russia protesters holding buildings in the country's east, though there have been few signs of activity so far.
Russia continues to deny NATO accusations that it is gathering troops on the border as it hastens to prepare for a possible cutoff of essential Ukrainian-made military parts.
NATO's top military commander says that he will present a package of measures next week laying out how the alliance will respond to the Russian buildup along Ukraine's borders.
Kiev gave protesters in the east 48 hours to come to the table. But in both Donetsk and Luhansk, armed demonstrators remained behind their barricades.
NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe warns that Russia could 'accomplish its objectives in between 3 and 5 days' if ordered.
The UN General Assembly resolution, which passed Thursday, called on countries not to interfere in Ukraine's national unity and territorial integrity.
The US has repeatedly urged Europe to boost its contributions to NATO. Now concern is growing about NATO's capabilities as it faces its biggest crisis since cold war days.
Russia's new state media is helping shape perceptions in Ukraine and the rest of the Russian-speaking world. It is slick, professional, and rooted in heavily spun truth.
At least 60 Ukrainian marines were detained today at a Crimean port as world leaders meet in The Hague to decide on a joint response to Moscow.