Putin says plan to take Crimea hatched before referendum

March 9, 2015 2:06 PM

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Putin says plan to take Crimea hatched before referendum

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he ordered officials to start work on taking control of Crimea weeks before a referendum which, the Kremlin has asserted until now, prompted the region's annexation from Ukraine.

Russian state television channel Rossiya-1 aired a brief extract of an interview in which Putin said he had called an emergency meeting in February last year to discuss the overthrow of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich hours earlier.

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