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Putin reveals Russia secret Crimea takeover in documentary


RUSSIAN President, Vladimir Putin, has revealed he planned the annexation of Crimea four days before unidentified gunmen appeared in the region.

Russia denied instigating the revolt against Ukraine, but in a forthcoming film, Mr Putin says he ordered work on “returning Crimea to Russia” at an all-night meeting in February.

The talks were called to plan the rescue of Ukraine’s deposed president.

A trailer for the documentary was shown on state-run television Sunday night though a release date has not been confirmed.

“I invited the leaders of our special services and the defence ministry to the Kremlin and set them the task of saving the life of the president of Ukraine [Viktor Yanukovych], who would simply have been liquidated,” Mr Putin says.

“We finished about seven in the morning. When we were parting, I told all my colleagues, ‘We are forced to begin the work to bring Crimea back into Russia’.”

Four days later, on 27 February, armed men seized the local parliament and local government buildings in Crimea, raising the Russian flag.

While they resembled members of the Russian military, the armed men carried no Russian military insignia and were described as “little green men”.

A vote on Crimea’s future, widely rejected by the international community, was held on 16 March and two days later Mr Putin signed a bill on its annexation by Russia.

The operation to annex Crimea was kept secret at the time, with Russia denying all involvement, although Mr Putin later admitted deploying troops on the peninsula, where they “stood behind Crimea’s self-defence forces”.

Full details of Mr Yanukovych’s escape from Ukraine are unclear, although Mr Putin spoke of preparations to evacuate him from Donetsk.

“Heavy machine guns were placed there, so as not to waste time talking,” he added, with preparations made by land, sea and air.

The documentary, which Russian TV says will be broadcast soon, was made by Andrei Kondrashov, a former journalist with state-run news channel TV channel Rossiya-1.

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