Slumped in a chair, facing reporters, Putin spoke.
Putin says that Yanukovich fulfilled all conditions of the February 21 agreement with the opposition and that he effectively gave up all power.
“There can only be one assessment of what happened in Kiev and Ukraine as a whole – this was an anti-constitutional takeover and armed seizure of power.
The acting president is not legitimate. The legitimate president is Yanukovich.
Ukraine is not our closest neighbour but is our brother. Ukrainian troops and Russian troops will not be on different sides of the barricade, they will be on the same side of the barricade.
[There is no need to use force in Crimea or send troops to Ukraine] but Russia will do so as a last resort. Russia reserves the right to use all means to protect citizens in Ukraine.
Market turmoil is a tactical, temporary decision by investors… Russia is ready to host the G8 but [if Western leaders do not want to attend] they don’t need to.”