MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin asked Russia's upper house on Tuesday to revoke the right it had granted him to order a military intervention in Ukraine in defense of Russian-speakers there, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The step seemed certain to be welcomed by the West as a sign that Moscow was ready to help engineer a settlement in Ukraine's largely Russian-speaking east, where a pro-Russian uprising against Kiev began in April.

Putin's spokesman said the Kremlin leader's move was aimed at assisting fledgling peace talks, which began on Monday, to end the conflict.