Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted publicly for the first time that Russia helped Viktor Yanukovych flee Ukraine after he was ousted as president of that country in February.
Speaking at an international business forum in Sochi on October 24, Putin said Russia first aided Yanukovych in getting to Crimea, which in February had still not been illegally annexed by Russia.
Putin said Yanukovych then asked the Kremlin to let him and his family to travel to Russia, and, Putin said, "we did that."
According to AFP, Ukrainian officials believe Putin has issued a secret decree granting Russian citizenship to Yanukovych, his family, and members of his inner circle.
Moscow has not publicly responded to that allegation.