As reported by Censor.NET citing UNIAN, he said at the annual Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!"
"Let me stress it, we had to protect the Russian-speaking people in the Donbas, react to the desire of residents of Crimea to go back into the Russian Federation," Putin said.
According to him, the West immediately started to spin a new anti-Russian flywheel and imposed sanctions.
As previously reported, in March 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea and began to destabilize the situation in the Donbas. Russia supplies weapons to the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Luhansk People's Republic," sends mercenaries and regular troops to fight alongside terrorists. Hostilities in the Donetsk and Luhansk has been underway since mid-April 2014. International organizations recognized the occupation and annexation of Crimea illegal and condemned Russia's actions. Western countries introduced a number of economic sanctions against Russia.
Related materials: Evidence of Russian aggression in Ukraine Occupied territories - Crimea and Donbas