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Russia couldn't but respond to Crimea's request for help — Putin

March 18, 2014, 15:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"Otherwise it would have been betrayal," the Russian President added

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky

MOSCOW, March 18. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin explained the decision on bringing Crimea into Russia from the point of view of common history and culture.

"Russia could not but respond to Crimea's request for help, otherwise it would have been betrayal," the president said.

"Crimea's population voted for joining Russia as everything in Crimea is interlaced with common history. Crimea is a unique mixture of culture, traditions and different peoples which makes it similar to Greater Russia. For centuries, it has been able to preserve all ethnic groups," the Russian president said in a special address on Tuesday.

"There are graves of Russian soldiers on the peninsula whose courage enabled Russia to make Crimea part of the Russian Empire in 1783," he said. "Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars and other peoples lived side by side in Crimea preserving their originality, traditions, language and religion."

"Russians are tired of permanent crisis which has been rocking Ukraine for more than two decades," the president said.

Putin underscored that Russia had always met Ukraine half-way in issues of border delimitation, hoping that the interests and rights of RF citizens in its territory would be observed.

An agreement between Russia and the Republic of Crimea is expected to be signed after the presidential address.

Prime Minister of Crimean Sergey Aksyonov is present at the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin palace on Tuesday where President Putin is making a special address in connection with Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation.

On Monday the Crimean parliament, which declared Crimea an independent state, authorized Prime Minister Aksyonov and parliament speaker Konstantinov to sign an interstate treaty with the Russian Federation on the admission of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which has a special status, into the Russian Federation.

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