Topic: Turbulence in Ukraine
President Vladimir Putin (right) facing journalists at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence to answer questions concerning the situation in Ukraine, March 4, 2014.© RIA Novosti. Aleksey Nikolskyi
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MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that his country has not deployed any troops in Crimea recently and has no plans to annex the peninsula.
Ukrainian officials and media have claimed in recent days that clandestine Russian army troops without insignias were deployed in the southeastern Ukrainian region, which has a majority ethnic Russian population.
When asked about the identity of the troops, Putin told a press conference that they are “local militias.”
They are wearing Russian-style fatigues because such attire is available in army shops across the former Soviet Union, Putin said.
Putin said, however, that up to 22,000 Ukrainian army troops with heavy military equipment are now under the control of local militias. Ukrainian authorities earlier denied any mass desertions in Crimea-based army units.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in Crimea, with a bilateral deal authorizing deployment of up to 25,000 Russian troops at the fleet’s bases. Russia has denied that the fleet’s troops are involved in the standoff.
Official Moscow said earlier that it was ready to launch an invasion in Crimea and other predominantly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine to protect locals from the threat of nationalist violence in the wake of last month’s revolution in Kiev, which was spearheaded by Ukrainian nationalist groups.
Speaking about a possible annexation of Crimea, Putin said it is up to the local population to decide.
“I believe only residents of a territory can and should decide their own future, provided they have safety and freedom of vote,” Putin said.
Crimean authorities have announced plans to hold a referendum on the peninsula’s status later this month. The majority of the local residents are Russian speakers who support close ties to Moscow, though not necessarily secession from Ukraine.
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- mythoslightIf the western clowns like Kerry/Kohn...17:36, 04/03/2014...would be so stupid as to impose sanctions on Russia for defending it´s citizens, it would only isolate themselves, the little fascist war mongering alliance calling themselves "the international community" i.e the anglo-american-zionist axis.
Russia BRICS and the rest of the free world will continue to develop and prosper without any such poor 5th column.
That would also be a perfect time for the above mentioned countries to flush out the remaining western NGO´s, Soros and other foreign colour revolution and sexual perversion agent´s in their societies.
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Vladimir Putin Meets with Members of the Valdai International Discussion Club. Transcript of the Final Plenary Session
Vladimir Putin took part in the final plenary session of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s 11th meeting. The plenary session summed up the club’s work over the previous three days, which concentrated on analysing the factors eroding the current system of institutions and norms of international law.