President Vladimir Putin has revealed what went on behind the Kremlin’s closed doors in the vital hours before last year’s annexation of Crimea.
In a documentary trailer for Russian state-run television, the president describes the moment he says he gave the secret order to seize the peninsula.
Putin recounts an all-night meeting with security chiefs to discuss “rescuing” Ukraine’s deposed, pro-Moscow president.
“We ended at about seven in the morning. When we were parting, I said to my colleagues: we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia,” said the president in a clip from the documentary entitled, “Homeward Bound”.
Four days later unidentified commandos took over the local parliament in Crimea and deputies voted in a new government.
The next day more unidentified troops appeared at other strategic sites. Moscow at the time insisted it wasn’t involved in the turmoil.
A referendum was organised for March 16 in which the Russian-speaking majority voted for independence from Ukraine. And on March 21 President Putin signed documents formally making the Ukrainian province part of Russia.
No date has been set for the screening of the documentary.