(QHA) -

President Vladimir Putin has commended Crimea Peninsula's unification with Russia, thanking his people for their bravery and loyalty in his New Year’s speech.

In his annual speech on Wednesday, Putin said that "this event will forever remain a most important milestone in our history".

He said that love for the motherland was what ensured that the Crimean peninsula joined Russia in March after a controversial referendum.

The pre-recorded speech has already been broadcasted in Russia's far eastern regions, where the holiday was celebrated hours ahead of Moscow because of the time difference.

But as the Russian president bid farewell to what he described as a historic year, he made no mention of the problems of Western sanctions, falling oil prices and the economic crisis that will possibly put Russia into recession in 2015.

QHA