Putin says plan to take Crimea hatched before referendum




 
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March 9th, 2015  
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Topic: Putin says plan to take Crimea hatched before referendum


Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he ordered officials to start work on taking control of Crimea weeks before a referendum which, the Kremlin has asserted until now, prompted the region's annexation from Ukraine. Russian state television channel Rossiya-1 aired a brief extract of an interview in which Putin said he had called an emergency meeting in February last year to discuss the overthrow of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich hours earlier. "He would have been just annihilated... We got ready to get him out of Donetsk by land, by sea and by air," Putin said about his meeting in the Kremlin with commanders of special forces and defense ministry officials. The virtually bloodless seizure of Crimea - a Black Sea peninsula with an ethnic Russian majority and where Moscow has a naval base - was followed by a pro-Moscow insurgency in the east of Ukraine.




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