How Russia Seized Crimea. Putin’s Confessions

“Crimea. The Way to the Motherland” Russian-produced documentary film was premiered on 15 March on the eve of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.

The film by Andrey Kondrashov sees Vladimir Putin speak on how Russian troops were deployed to Crimea in early March 2014. Several Russian media have released the excerpts of Putin’s interview from the film.
Last year in March special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) [of the Russian Federation – edit.] as well as marines and troopers were deployed to Crimea under the guise of reinforcing security of the Russian military facilities [in Crimea]. It was stated by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin in the “Crimea. The Way to the Motherland” documentary, quotes
“In order to block and disarm 20 thousand people, well-armed, certain configuration of manpower is required not just by number but also by their quality. Specialists who knew how to make it were required. That’s why I gave orders to the Ministry of Defense, why hide it, under the guise of reinforcing security of our military facilities in Crimea to deploy there special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) as well as marines and troopers,” said Putin.
At the time being around 20 thousand of Ukrainian troops were stationed in Crimea. Within the first days of March around 20 military bases of the Ukrainian Armed Forces sided with Russia. As per Putin’s take later the officers were intimidated by Ukrainian authorities to stop them siding with Russia, says Dozhd.
14 helicopters were redeployed to the airdromes in Kacha and Dzhankoy, 5 transport iL-76 airliners were constantly moving back and forth, within a few days thousands of officers and fighters of various units were redeployed into the peninsula.
“We made a fortress out of Crimea both from the sea and the land,” said Putin. “There was high militarization of the territory, it’s obvious. Over twenty thousand people fully mobilized and armed. 43 S-300 missile launch systems, around 20 “Buk” systems and other heavy weapons including armoured vehicles. It was a serious fist,” he added.
At some point in order to make it understandable that Crimea is firmly protected “Bastion” coastal missile systems were deployed there, quotes Putin
On 19 March long-lasting confrontation at the Staff of the Ukrainian Naval Forces in Sevastopol came to its end, said Putin as per Kyiv changed several chief commanders there, he continued. “One of the commanders refused outright to side with the Crimean authorities, let’s nominally say so. I asked the veterans to work with him,” says Putin. “A more force-involving method was suggested. I told our military straightaway: send the vets! […] These grandpas came and were conducting educational campaign with him until 7am. Anyway, till 7am he took a pen and signed the resignation report,” Putin continued.
In the film Putin also claims that in case of the unfavourable development of the events in Crimea Moscow could have put on alert its nuclear weapons, says Dozhd.
“Already at the first stage of work I had to respectively orientate our Armed Forces. Not merely orientate but give them direct instructions, orders on Russia’s possible behaviour and that of our Armed Forces under any scenario,” said Putin. Answering the question on whether Russia was ready to put its nuclear weapons on combat alert, Putin said: “We were ready to do that.”

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