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Russia has no intention of sending troops to Ukraine - Lavrov

MOSCOW, March 29 (Reuters) - Russia has no intention of sending its armed forces into Ukraine although it is ready to protect the rights of Russian speakers in the former Soviet republic, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview on Saturday.

"We have absolutely no intention of - or interest in - crossing Ukraine's borders," Lavrov told a Russian television channel. Russia has forces in Crimea, which it has annexed from Ukraine, and has thousands of military close to the border with eastern Ukraine, where there are many Russian speakers.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Editing by Timothy Heritage)