The much anticipated documentary, “Crimea. Way Back Home” takes us back to the US/EU backed coup in Kiev and the Kremlin’s steps to protect Crimea from falling under the control of a putsch government.
Crimea became part of Russia following a referendum in which over 96 percent of Crimean citizens backed a move to reunify with Russia, prompting Western regimes to impose economic sanctions against the Russian Federation.
Revelations from an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin expose the extent to which the United States and the European Union violently moved to place Ukraine under Western neo-liberal rule, with plans to attack Crimea and even assassinate Ukraine’s then democratically elected President Yanukovych.
Putin on Russian troops stationed in Crimea…
“We did not even have to use the Federation Council’s authorization to send our troops to Ukraine, I did not pretend. In accordance with the relevant international agreement, 20,000 people could be stationed at our military base in Crimea, and even more. Even given the number of personnel we added, we did not get 20,000.”
On positioning a K-300P (SSC-5) Bastion mobile coastal defense missile systems in Crimea to openly display Russia’s commitment to protecting the peninsula…
“Bastion is a defense system, which protects the coast and the territory. It does not attack, but it is an effective, modern, high-precision weapon…Yes, and at one point, so that it would be understood that Crimea is well-protected, we positioned these Bastion coastal systems there.”
“Apart from the above, we deliberately positioned these defense systems in a way to be seen from space.”
Russia knew from the start that the US and Europe was behind the February 2014 Ukrainian coup…
“Formally, the opposition was primarily supported by Europeans, but we knew very well… that the real puppeteers were our American partners and friends. It was them who helped prepare nationalists [and] combat troops.”
“The trick of the situation was that outwardly the [Ukrainian] opposition was supported mostly by the Europeans. But we knew for sure that the real masterminds were our American friends.”
“They [US and Europe] helped training the nationalists, their armed groups, in Western Ukraine, in Poland and to some extent in Lithuania.”
“They facilitated the armed coup.”
On protecting Crimea from bloodshed as a result of the US/EU backed coup…
“To block and disarm 20,000 people, of course you need a certain set of personnel, and not just in terms of quantity, but also quality… So I ordered the Ministry of Defense…to deploy the special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate [GRU], Marines and paratroopers under the guise of reinforcing our military facilities in Crimea.”
“We cannot leave this area and the people who live there to whims of fate, to let the people of Crimea be thrown under the wheels of this nationalist bulldozer. I set certain tasks, I did say, what and how we should do, but immediately stressed that we would do so only if we are absolutely convinced that the people who live in the Crimea want it.”
“What did our partners do? Abetted the staging of a coup. That is, they began operating from a position of strength. I do not think this is the best way of doing things.”
On the subsequent March 16, 2014 referendum to reunite with Russia…
“We have never considered Crimea’s rejection from Ukraine until the events [in Maidan], the coup.”
“The first thing I ordered to do is to organise a closed poll.”
“The results demonstrated there [in Crimea] 75% wanted to join Russia.”
“It was evident for me if we approach it, the numbers of those supporting this historic event would be even higher.”
“The final objective was not seizure of Crimea or whatever annexation. The final objective was to give an opportunity to the people to express their will regarding how they would want to live. I am telling you quite openly and honestly. My thoughts were: if this is what people want, this is the way it will be. This means they will be with some bigger autonomy, with some rights, though a part of the Ukrainian state. Let it be so. But if they want it otherwise, we cannot leave them. We know results of the poll. Thus, we acted the way should have.”.
Putin also highlighted in the documentary that:
- The Kremlin had been ready to place its nuclear forces on alert if an “unfavorable scenario” in Crimea had unfolded.
- Moscow was informed of “radical” Ukrainian authorities’ readiness to carry out terrorist attacks in Crimea, targeting a large number of civilians.
- Pro-Kiev combat units were also being prepared in Poland and Lithuania.
- Organizers of last year’s coup in Ukraine planned to seize power and physically eliminate then-President Viktor Yanukovych.
On the plan to assassinate Yanukovych…
“It became known that not only his capture, but his physical removal was being prepared, as preferable to those who committed the coup. As the famous historic figure said – no man, no problem.”
“I do not want to evaluate his work [Viktor Yanukovych’s]. He said, ‘I could not sign an order on weaponry use. I could not bring myself to do it.’ Can we blame him for it? I cannot say. And I do not want to do it. I don’t think I have a right to do so. Whether it is good or bad – the consequences of inactivity are grave. This is clear.”
“I invited to Kremlin heads of our intelligence services, the defence ministry, and set a task to save the life of Ukraine’s president; otherwise he would have been killed.”
“Our services of radio location actually began following up his cortege, and every time he got connected on the phone, they fixed his location.”
“There were big-calibre machine-guns – not to waste time. We were about to take him right from Donetsk: by land, or see or air. This was between the 22nd and the 23rd.”