(AGI) Moscow, March 9 - Russia's President, Vladimir Putin,revealed that he ordered operations to "return" Crimea toRussia on February 23, 2014, the morning after UkrainianPresident Viktor Yanukovych was ousted following the heavyprotests in Kiev's Maidan square. The head of the Kremlinbroached the topic of the annexation in an interview with thestate-run channel Russia-1 as part of a wider documentarytitled "Crimea: The Path To The Motherland". Trailers of thedocumentary were broadcast on Sunday. "I invited the leaders ofour special services and the defence ministry to the Kremlinand set them the task of saving the life of the president ofUkraine, who would simply have been liquidated," Putin stated,adding that Russian forces were ready in Donetsk to rescueYanukovych. The meeting on Ukraine lasted throughout the night,he said. "We finished about seven in the morning. When we wereparting, I told all my colleagues, 'We are forced to begin thework to bring Crimea back into Russia'." Four days later, onFebruary 27, unidentified troops seized control of the Crimeanregional parliament in Simferopol, which then hurriedly votedin a new government. Kiev denounced the Russian invasion, withthousands of armed men without military insignia pouring intostrategic areas. The military operation was initally kept asecret despite Russia's clear involvement. Crimea's annexationwas officially announced on March 18 after a controversialreferendum that has not been recognised by Ukraine or theinternational community. (AGI). .