Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, states that the Kremlin in early March 2014 was preparing an invasion plan not only for the east of Ukraine, but also for Kyiv, with the purpose of bringing back to power the regime of Viktor Yanukovych.
"It was already from the end of February - early March that our intelligence reported on preparations for the invasion not only of the east or south of Ukraine, they [Russia] were ready to enter into Kyiv," Turchynov said.
"And there was Yanukovych, whom they publicly considered a legitimate [president] and who, as you know, appealed to Putin demanding the introduction of [Russian] troops, and that piece of paper [an appeal to Vladimir Putin] - they used it as a political cover… But imagine the situation: they enter Kyiv, bringing along Yanukovych, a" legitimate" president from Russia's point of view, but formally, also from the legal perspective, and they say, 'We restored the constitutional power in Ukraine'," stressed Turchynov.
"It was precisely this plan that was most dangerous for us: it was precisely the military invasion and the proclamation of the restoration of the so-called "constitutional power" of Yanukovych, and in order to cancel out the scenario most dangerous for our state, it was necessary to hold honest, transparent, legitimate elections that all countries would recognize. And that is why the only option that remained was to carry out an Anti-Terrorist Operation, but certainly with the involvement of the military, as it was only the military who could resist military aggression," the NSDC secretary said.
He recalled that on April 14, 2014, it was decided to announce the start of the ATO.
Read alsoJoint Forces Operation to be launched in Donbas April 30 - Poroshenko"The fact is that the situation was developing very quickly. In fact, Russia began an undeclared war against our state, and at first it was war in Crimea, but it was on March 1 when the Russian parliament approved Putin's decision to deploy troops to Ukraine. Along the border with our state. more than 200,000 troops amassed – a powerful grouping together with reserves, tanks, artillery, multiple rocket launchers and aircraft," Turchynov said.
"And in fact it was clear that after Crimea, military aggression would begin in mainland Ukraine, and back then, in early March, we were forced to transfer all available troops, those few we had, up to the north and east in order to withstand this invasion, the war to which Ukraine was not yet ready," he said.
He recalled that Russia, along with military actions, began a provocation, very thoroughly prepared by their special services, called "Russian Spring".
"According to the plan of the Russian staff, separatist riots should have covered almost half of Ukraine. Indeed, such riots spread across the country from Odesa to Kharkiv, both south, the whole east, and north were – people would seize administrative buildings, hold strong rallies, fly Russian flags… So back then, the situation was tense not only in Donetsk or Luhansk, it was the same in Kharkiv, Odesa, etc." said the NSDC secretary.
Read alsoPutin mulling new invasion of Ukraine in autumn – SBU"And for us it was fundamentally important to preserve Ukraine, on the one hand preparing for [Russian] military invasion and on the other hand finding it necessary to suppress all these riots that threatened to tear Ukraine apart and pave the way for the invasion," he said, adding that, "according to the plan of the Russian General Staff, Ukraine should not have resisted a military invasion."
However, Turchynov noted that at that time, Ukraine's priority was to suppress revolts.
"We quickly stopped the situation from spreading in most regions of Ukraine, and when the Kremlin leadership saw that their scheme of destabilization, creating chaos in Ukraine was falling, they deployed their special forces in the east. It was in the east, in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where military aggression began with the seizure of administrations and headquarters of security agencies. They also sought to start the same thing in Kharkiv, where the corresponding events were launched simultaneously, but in Kharkiv we were able to quickly suppress the revolt," said Turchynov.
He added that Ukraine also had the opportunity to crush the riots in Donetsk and Luhansk, but when Russia "saw that their plan was failing, they deployed their troops."