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LONDON, June 24. /TASS/. Statements on the referendum in Crimea in an interview of Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych were edited out of BBC’s English services in the interests of viewers, a company spokesperson said.
The BBC spokesperson said: "The results of the Crimea vote have been reported across the BBC since 2014. The film which appeared on Newsnight was an edited version of a long interview, which focused on Yanukovych’s most newsworthy remarks.
"BBC Russia colleagues were able to run longer extracts and chose to include the comments about the Crimea vote," he added.
The interview went on air on BBC Two’s Newsnight program late on Monday. In his interview, the former president spoke about how he had managed to leave the country with the assistance of Russian President Vladimir Putin when the situation spiraled out of control.
Yanukovych said he had given no orders to open fire on protesters on Independence Square in the capital Kiev, and said Crimea’s reunification with Russia was a fait accompli.
A coup took place in Ukraine in February 2014 after months of anti-government protests, often violent, dubbed "Euromaidan", which started after Yanukovych suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union in November 2013 in favor of closer ties with Russia.
New people were brought to power in Kiev amid deadly riots that involved radicals in February 2014. Yanukovych had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns the same month.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities. Crimea and Sevastopol signed reunification deals with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.