Photo from UNIAN

The Security Service of Ukraine had warned Ukrainian leadership about the Russian threat as regards Crimea before Viktor Yanukovich became president, according to deputy chief of the Security Service's Department of counterintelligence protection of national interests in the field of information security, Colonel Yulia Laputina.

"Even before Yanukovych, [the SBU] warned that there were threats of concealed Russian influence on the situation in Crimea, in particular, informational influence, because back then, programs were launched, funded by 'Russian World' Foundation, that were mentally aimed at reintegrating the population of the peninsula into Russian information space. This was reported to the state leadership," the security official told Obozrevatel.

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"Unfortunately, it was precisely at the moment when the power was about to change. Then, Yanukovych came to power, and all these programs of countering Russian special services were curtailed," said Laputina.