"Let us have an objective look at what happened, what brought us to such a state [placing of anti-Russian sanctions]. At first our US and European friends acted as guarantors of the agreement between President Yanukovych and the opposition. The very next day it was broken, the power was seized," Putin said during the annual press conference.
"Instead of condemning the anti-constitutional coup and calling for the commitment to the agreement, signed by the foreign ministers of three European states, namely France, Germany and Poland, the anti-constitutional coup was instead supported," Putin added.
"This led to the situation when that the citizens living on the Crimean territory decided to reunite with Russia, to the loss of Crimea by Ukraine, and to the grave, tragic events in Donbas," the president said, adding that the inability to reach consensus on Ukraine's aspirations to join the European Union was the bedrock of the tragedy.
"But whether it is possible to transfer such questions of a purely economic nature into such angle, and to lead it toward such a tragedy. Have we been the initiators of such developments of the events? No, of course not. We have been asking for years to agree on the specific details of the agreement. And Mr. Yanukovych finally said he wanted to join the agreement, but he needed time to to consider the terms of accession, to reach an agreement on this issue within his government and to talk with Russia, since we have very close economic relations… Our European partners said 'no.' The result is well known," Putin said.