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Putin says Russia could have put nuclear forces on alert after change of power in Kiev

March 15, 2015, 18:14 UTC+3

Moscow didn't want to push its way through but was forced to, Putin said

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© Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian president's press service/TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, March 15. /TASS/. After a change of power in Kiev Russia could have put putting its nuclear forces on an alert, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted in an interview with the authors of a documentary about Crimea's reunification with Russia. The Path to the Motherland that was aired by Russia’s television channel Rossiya 1 on Sunday.

"Of course, it was not immediately clear [what the reaction to Crimea’s reunification with Russia] would be. That is why, at the very first stage of work I had to instruct our armed forces correspondingly. Not merely to orient them but to issue direct instructions," the president said.

When asked whether it meant that Russia’s nuclear forces had been put on an alert, Putin said, "We were ready to do that. We did not want to push our way through but we were forced to do that."

The president said he had spoken with "colleagues and told them that it /Crimea/ is our historic territory, where Russian people are living who are in danger and we cannot leave them." "It was not us to stage a state coup, it was done by nationalists and people with extremist views," Putin noted. "You supported them but where are you? Thousands kilometres away? But we are here, this is our land! What you are going to fight for? Do youn know? We do. And we are ready for that."

"This is an honest and open position. And this is why I think no one wanted to unleash a global conflict," the Russian president said, adding he had been ready for "the most unfavourable development of the situation.".

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