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Russia's Putin Defends Annexation of Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended his country's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and accused the West of using the Ukraine crisis as a pretext to impose sanctions on Moscow. Delivering his annual state of the union speech Thursday, Putin referred to Crimea as Russia's spiritual ground. On the subject of Western sanctions, he said, "When anyone thinks Russia has become strong, independent, such instruments are applied immediately. “This is not...

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