Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Putin: Russia Could Not 'Abandon' Crimea

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia took over Crimea because it had to protect Crimea's mostly ethnic-Russian population after pro-Western Ukrainian nationalists came to power in Ukraine.

In the latest preview of an upcoming documentary called "Homeward bound" on state-run Rossiya-1 television, Putin portrayed Russia's military takeover and annexation of the Ukrainian province as a rescue mission.

"We were forced to start working on returning Crimea to Russia because we could not abandon this territory and the people who live there to the mercy of fate, to be crushed by nationalists, " Putin said.

Putin pinned the blame for what Moscow calls a coup in Kiev on nationalists supported by Western countries "thousands of kilometers away."

"It wasn't us who committed a coup d'etat, it was done by nationalists and people with extreme views, they were given support," Putin said.

"But we are here, this is our land," he said.

Shortly after the February 2014 overthrow of Ukraine's Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev, Russian soldiers suddenly fanned across Crimea, which has deep ethnic-Russian roots and where there was less support for the pro-Western revolution in the capital.

A subsequent referendum staged after Ukrainian authorities had already been pushed out gave overwhelming backing to making the Black Sea peninsula part of Russia.

The military operation was initially kept secret, despite the increasingly obvious actions of unmarked Russian forces. Later, the Kremlin conceded that it had been behind the power grab.

Complete story at - Putin: Russia Could Not 'Abandon' Crimea

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