Russian president Vladimir Putin has recently revealed his plans for Crimea, made several weeks before the formal annexation of the region.
During an interview within a yet-to-be-released documentary on Rossiya-1, Putin describes a secret meeting regarding the future of Ukraine. It took place in February, after the ousting of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych following pro-Western protests held in the capital. It was during this meeting that Putin committed to “returning Crimea to Russia.”
This isn’t too much of a surprise however, given Russia’s involvement in Ukraine since. Russian troops secretly took over and replaced the Crimean parliament, which soon announced the referendum on secession that was later held on March 18th. The region was then formally annexed by Russia in a turn of events that has been widely condemned by the rest of the world.
There subsequently arose additional separatist movements in eastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv, with over 6000 people having since lost their lives. The pro-Russian rebels appear to be quite heavily armed, despite supposedly being independent of Russian influence and funding. And just as was the case during the initial days of Crimea’s takeover, Putin is denying any official presence in the area.
Perhaps the truth will be revealed in the next documentary.