Russia's Vladimir Putin is still talking tough on Ukraine -- but he has also helped ease tensions today.

    Putin says Russia has no intention to ``fight the Ukrainian people'' -- but he's reserving the right to use force in order to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

    Russia has agreed to a NATO request to hold a special meeting tomorrow in Brussels to discuss Ukraine -- opening up a possible diplomatic channel.

    In Washington, President Barack Obama said today that there is room for Ukraine to be a friend of both the West and Russia.

    But he says Russia's military invasion of Ukraine could end up driving countries away from Russia, instead of closer to it.

Also, stocks surged after Russia pulled its troops back from the border of Ukraine.

    The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 227 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 16,395 Tuesday.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 index set another record high following a slump the day before. The S&P 500 rose 28 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,873. The Nasdaq composite rose 74 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,351.

    Traders were relieved that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine to return to their bases.  (Associated Press)