REUTERS

Ukrainian units of highly mobile landing troops and special operations forces were put on combat readiness on January 31, 2014, the official told RFE/RL's Donbas Realii project.

"We began to work out a plan that provided for countering the seizure of the Ukrainian territory. This option was provided and worked out by the General Staff. Many military units were tasked,  according to the plan, to counter possible attempts of territorial seizure, including airborne forces, namely the 25th and the 79th airborne brigades. They were supposed to be deployed in Crimea, take up positions, and strengthen the grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Crimea," said the official.

According to Kryvonos, the first stage of the plan had begun to be implemented.

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"After a while, the second stage had to be launched. But it was never implemented because combat orders for the use of said units were never signed. Accordingly, the plan was curtailed," he said.

Kryvonos expressed confidence that the Ukrainian military, in particular, the airborne troops, "were capable of fulfilling their task."

"I have my own point of view and, perhaps, I am also mistaken, relying on the amount of information that I have. But I clearly know that units of the airborne forces were able to fulfill their task under that plan. Just as the special operations forces of our regiments and centers in Crimea were clearly aware of their tasks and performing them clearly. And, in principle, theoretically, our [forces'] deployment in Crimea, the strengthening of the grouping would, let's say, keep Russian troops from unpunished impudence," the official added.