Putin: It's 'Always' Been Our Land; We're Just Taking It Back

Monica Sanchez | March 20, 2015
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During a festive concert in central Moscow on Wednesday marking the first anniversary of the Crimean treaty signing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the decision to annex the Ukrainian peninsula had nothing to do with its strategically important location or additional land. 

"We realized that in regard to the Crimea it is not just about some areas, even strategically important," he said.

"This is not just about the area," Putin asserted, "which we have enough."

Instead, he emphasized, as he did during the treaty signing, Crimea had "always been a part of Russia." 

"We are talking about the historical origins of the sources of our spirituality and statehood," he said. "It is about what makes us one people and a single cohesive nation."

"We have always believed in Russia that Russian and Ukrainian — are one people," said Putin. "I think so now."

In a likely attempt to ameliorate frustrations, the Russian president addressed the conflict in Ukraine as a product of his desire to "help and support" his fellow citizens.

"We are talking about millions of Russian people, millions of our fellow citizens who need our help and support," Putin said. 

"We understand how important it is for all of us..."

"Of course, extreme nationalism is always harmful and dangerous," he added.

"[But] I am sure that the Ukrainian people still give a decent and objective assessment of the activities of those who brought the country to the point where it is today."

Perhaps, but such a "decent and objective assessment" by the Ukrainian people on recent events likely differs from the type Putin has in mind. 

Click here for a video of his speech, transcribed courtesy of Business Insider.