At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Samantha power took on Russia's legal justification for sending its military into the Ukrainian region of Crimea. In her remarks, Power called Russia's action "a violation of international law and a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the independent nation of Ukraine."
Her statement was in direct response the Russian delegation's argument that it sent troops into Ukraine off of a signed order from ousted and exiled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
First, let's look at what Russia said. The country's U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Council that Yanukovych sent a signed letter to the Russian government asking the Russian military "to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine." Churkin held up the letter for the Security Council as evidence of his claim. If authentic, the directive goes against what Yanukovych said late last week — in a press conference, the former Ukrainian leader vowed not to ask for the help of Russian forces. Although Ukraine has already appointed an interim government, Yanukovych has continued to insist that he is the "legitimate" president of the nation.