Russian president Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine, but that changed today at a nationally televised press conference in Moscow where Putin confirmed that Russian military specialists had been sent to support Crimean separatists.
Vladimir Putin
© Sputknik/Scanpix

“We had to take unavoidable steps so that events did not develop as they are currently developing in southeast Ukraine," Putin said in response to a Ukrainian reporter's question. "Of course our troops stood behind Crimea's self-defence forces."

When the war in Ukraine began, Putin initially feigned ignorance of where the “little green men” fighting in Crimea had come from. At the conference, however, he said, “we never said there were not people there who carried out certain tasks including in the military sphere.”

At the press conference, Putin also took an uncompromising stance on Russia's relationship with Turkey and expressed his belief that Russia and the U.S. had similar objectives in Syria.


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