Putin, speaking in film, says Russia saved life of Ukraine ex-leader: agency

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2015 7:58 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking in a pre-recorded film about Russia's seizure of Crimea, said the life of Ukrainian former president Viktor Yanukovich was in danger as a result of the "revolution" that set out to seize power in Kiev.

"For us it became clear and we received information that there were plans not only for his capture, but, preferably for those who carried out the coup, but also for his physical elimination. As one famous historical figure said: no person, no problem," Interfax reported Putin as saying in the film.

Mass protests over Yanukovich's decision to back away from a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Moscow ousted him from power in February last year, and he fled to sanctuary in Russia.

Interfax quoted Putin as saying that saving the life of Yanukovich and his family was a "good deed".

Putin has not been seen in public or on live television since March 5, prompting a wave of savage mockery across the Internet, despite official insistence it was business as usual in the Kremlin.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Mark Heinrich)