MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. Ukraine’s special services had no information on "Crimea’s takeover," former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said, stressing that this rhetoric was cooked up by people who seized power after the 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev.
"Neither I nor the military, nor the special services had any information on preparations for Crimea’s armed takeover. I’m sure that these are all fables and attempts by our current authorities to justify themselves," Yanukovich told a news conference hosted by TASS on Friday.
The former president recalled that a peaceful rally had been held in Sevastopol where the participants expressed their hope for Russia’s protection. "I saw with my own eyes when people on February 23  in Sevastopol were wrapping up a rally and marched to the city’s center. They were discussing the situation in Kiev. I talked to these people and I heard great concerns over their security," he stressed.
The referendum in Crimea was a response to the junta’s power grab in Kiev, the ex-Ukrainian president said. "The Crimean citizens made this decision to hold a referendum - in fact this was a response to the coup d’etat [in Ukraine] and an attempt to protect themselves."
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 authorities in Kiev who seized power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The Russian president signed the reunification deals on March 18, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.