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Putin Says Crimea Not Annexed By Russia, It Was 'Reunified'

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow did not annex the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 but claimed it was "reunified" with Russia.

Putin said at a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit in the Kyrgyz capital on September 16 that actions by the Ukrainian government were the "root cause" for what happened to Crimea.

"Russia did not annex anything," he said, in response to comments made by Ukrainian Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Mikolay Doroshenko. "Whatever happened with Crimea is the result of unlawful actions of certain political forces in Ukraine who had brought the situation to a state coup."

Moscow forcibly annexed Crimea shortly after thousands of unmarked Russian soldiers landed on the peninsula in early 2014.

The action was widely condemned by many Western countries and in an overwhelming vote by the UN General Assembly.

Doroshenko, who represented Ukraine at the CIS summit in Bishkek, raised objections to two items on the bloc's agenda, including handing the CIS presidency to Russia because he said Moscow's annexation of Crimea had breached international laws.

Along with Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, the takeover of Crimea led to economic sanctions from several Western countries and the EU against Russia.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax