The more than two-hour-long documentary, called “Crimea. Way Back Home” offered new details about Putin’s actions between Yanukovych’s late-night escape from Ukraine’s capital on Feb. 21, 2014, and Crimea’s unification with Russia less than four weeks later.
In the documentary, Putin said he had ordered special forces, marines and paratroopers to be deployed “under the guise of reinforcing our military facilities in Crimea.” Putin said that Russia did not violate any treaties because it was allowed under its long-standing agreement with Ukraine to station up to 20,000 soldiers on its Crimean military bases, and that number was never breached.
The planning for taking the peninsula began after an all-night meeting that began when Yanukovych fled his presidential residence on the outskirts of Kiev, Putin said. Russia had previously said that it took Crimea because the peninsula’s population demanded it after alleged threats to Russians in Ukraine.
A trailer of the documentary broadcast on March 8 has already prompted Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to urge the International Tribunal in The Hague to consider the footage as evidence of Russia's premeditated invasion of Crimea.