Kiev agitators 'trained in Poland' claims Putin
PR dla Zagranicy
President Putin claimed on Tuesday that "well prepared" and organized protesters in Kiev who brought down the Yanukovych regime were "trained in Poland and Lithuania".
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks about the situation in Ukraine during his meeting with journalists at the Novo-Ogaryovo presidential residence outside Moscow, Russia, 04 March 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin says he sees no need to send Russian troops to Ukraine now, calling it a 'last resort": - photo - EPA/ALEXEY NIKOLSKY /
In his first in-depth comments since the Russian parliament gave the green light for military action in Ukraine on Saturday, Vladimir Putin told a press conference in Moscow, "look how well they were prepared."
"They underwent preparation in bases in Lithuanian and Polish border areas, and [of course] in Ukraine itself. Their instructors were ready for a lengthy time, you saw how they were prepared, like special forces, they were even divided up into squads," Putin told journalists.
On Saturday, the vice-president of the Russian Federation Council claimed that "gunmen who took over power in Kiev were trained in Poland and Lithuania".
The Polish defence ministry categorically denied the accusations on Tuesday.
A confident looking Russian president said today that, "there can be only one assessment of what happened in Kiev, in Ukraine in general. This was an anti-constitutional coup and the armed seizure of power. No one argues with this," he said.
Putin said Russia reserved the right to use all options in Ukraine to protect compatriots living in "terror" but that Moscow would use force only as a last resort.
"As for bringing in forces. For now there is no such need but such a possibility exists," he said. "What could serve as a reason to use military force? It would naturally be the last resort, absolutely the last." (pg/jb)