Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow was consciously led to annex Crimea.
“Sometimes it seems to me - and I think that there are certain grounds for this - that someone consciously led us to such a line, and once there, we had to act the way we acted. Not many expected that we would act so quickly, so resolutely, if not boldly,” said Putin in TV host Vladimir Soloviev’s film “World Order 2018.” The film is on Soloviev’s Vkontakte page.
According to Putin, he did not doubt that sanctions would follow, but he decided to annex Crimea anyway. At the same time, the Russian president expressed confidence that “in the long run, Russia will still win.”
Additionally, Putin said that the United States deceived him during EuroMaidan (Ukrainian revolution). According to him, the United States asked him to do everything possible so that then president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych would not use the army.
“We were approached by American partners, and they asked us to do everything - I now say almost a verbatim request – so that Yanukovich would not use the army [...] We said: ‘Okay’ [...] A coup d'état was done a day later. Well, at least they could have called, they could have let us know!” the Russian president said.
According to him, instead, Washington had only “full support of those who changed the regime.”
When the presenter asked if this was the first time the United States had deceived Russia, Putin said, “Perhaps the first time so rudely and brazenly.”
In the documentary “Crimea: Path to the Motherland,” released in 2015, Putin said that the decision to seize the peninsula was made at a meeting in the Kremlin on the night of February 22-23, 2014, at the same time that Yanukovych fled from Kyiv. The next day, Yanukovych was removed from power.