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Putin explained why he decided to return Crimea to Russia

March 10, 2015, 3:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to him, he could not throw people living there under ‘steamroller of nationalists’
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Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin says he took the decision to reunify with Crimea because he could not throw people "under a steamroller of nationalists," according to a documentary Way Home aired on Rossiya-1 television channel.

"It was the night from February 22 to February 23. We finished at about seven in the morning. And when we were leaving, frankly speaking, I told my colleagues (and there were four of them): ‘The situation in Ukraine has turned such a way that we are forced to begin efforts to reunify with Crimea, because we cannot leave this territory and people living there to the mercy of fate, we cannot throw them under a steamroller of nationalists," the Russian president said in an interview with the documentary.

He said that at that point he "set certain tasks and told what and how we should do but stressed that we would do it only if we were absolutely sure that people living in Crime wanted the same."

As for the operation to evacuate Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, "our radio surveillance services as a matter of fact were tracing his cars" and each time he made a telephone call spotted his location, Putin said.

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