The decision to withdraw Ukrainian forces from the Crimea in spring 2014 was made on the recommendation of Serhiy Pashynsky who was the head of the Presidential administration of Ukraine at the time.
Yanukovych’s lawyer, Vitalii Serdiuk, who represents the interests of the former President of Ukraine stated on his Facebook page that this is evidenced by Ihor Tenyukh, the former Defense Minister.
According to a copy of the interrogation report published by Serdiuk, at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on March 23, 2014, Tenyukh provided a report on the situation in the Crimea and “strictly offered to make a breakthrough to the Crimea.”
Serhiy Pashynsky responded that “The Minister’s point of view is clear, he wants a war, let’s hear other members,” as quoted in the document.
According to Tenyukh, Stepan Poltorak, who was the commander of the National Guard of Ukraine at the time and now serves as Defense Minister, spoke after him at the meeting.
“His exact words were: “I offer to raise our banners proudly and to start the withdrawal of our units from the Crimea.” I responded that I’d rather shoot myself and in this case I am ready to resign immediately,” Tenyukh said.
The documents also points out that according to Tenyukh, all proposals “on the defense of the peninsula” were blocked by Arseniy Yatsenyuk who was the head of the Ukrainian Government at the time.
The internationally recognized Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in March of 2014 in the wake of the Ukrainian revolution. The Kremlin has faced international condemnation for its annexation of the Peninsula, leading many western countries to impose economic sanctions against Russia. In the United Nations, only Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Syria recognize Crimea as a legitimate federal subject of Russia.