"We were ready to do it [place nuclear forces on alert]. I talked with colleagues and told them that this [Crimea] is our historic territory, Russian people live there, they are in danger and we cannot leave them,” Putin said in the “Crimea. Way Back Home” documentary released Sunday by Rossiya-1 TV.
Leading British newspapers, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, and the Daily Mail, have paid much attention to Putin’s claims on Russia’s readiness to use nuclear force if there had been shown to be a threat to the Russian-speaking residents of Crimea.
The New York Times and The Washington post also focused on this particular statement by the Russian president.
“After the revolution in Ukraine last year, President Vladimir V. Putin sent military forces to secure Crimea and even weighed putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert because of his concerns about both anarchy and Western intervention,” The New York Times said.
Crimea became a Russian region following a referendum held March 16, 2014, in which over 96 percent of Crimean voters backed a move to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Crimea's reunification with Russia was triggered by the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.