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Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, who served as acting president of Ukraine from February 23 to June 7, 2014, says Russian President Vladimir Putin declared readiness to employ nuclear weapons had the Crimea seizure operation seen any resistance.

"More information is now popping up… When they once again celebrated [the anniversary of] the Crimea seizure, Putin even said that he had been ready to use nuclear weapons to complete the operation in Crimea had someone started interfering militarily... That is, he was ready to use nuclear weapons if his operation saw any resistance. This is classic aggression, classic annexation," Turchynov said Thursday, testifying in the Viktor Yanukovych treason case, an UNIAN correspondent reported from a courtroom at the Obolonsky district court of Kyiv.

"Those who fled to the Russian Federation leaked loads of classified information... But we began to take first steps in restoring our intelligence. Its then-head, Mr. (Viktor) Hvozd, informed me that according to the intel they had received from sources in Russia, the decision was being drafted in the Russian parliament to be passed March 1, 2014, on the introduction of troops into Ukraine. He also said that, according to his intel, there had been an appeal by Yanukovych in this regard," he said.

Read alsoDonbas reintegration law not to rule out liberation of occupied territories by force – NSDC secretary "I might mess up the dates, but I saw the actual text of the appeal on March 3, when Russia's representative to the UN read it out," Turchynov added.

The NSDC secretary said that Russia never recognized its aggression against Ukraine.

"This is a typical cowardly position on the part of Russia – it does not recognize aggression, at the same time talking about some definitions of the 'Crimean people', etc."

UNIAN memo. Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held for Crimeans to decide on accession to Russia. De-facto Crimean authorities reported that allegedly 96.77% of the Crimean population had voted for joining Russia.

On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin.

The West did not recognize the annexation in response to which sanctions against Russia were introduced.

Ukraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date when the temporary occupation of Crimea began.