Vladimir Putin accused Western nations of trying to tear apart Russia as he delivered his state of the union address to Russia.
Reuters reported that President Putin accused the West of attempting to bring about "the same fate as suffered by Yugoslavia in the 1990s."
"There is no doubt they would have loved to see the Yugoslavia scenario of collapse and dismemberment for us -- with all the tragic consequences it would have for the peoples of Russia. This has not happened. We did not allow it."
But, according to Reuters, Putin said the West would have issued the sanctions even had Russia not set foot in Ukraine.
"I am certain that if all this did not take place... they would come up with another reason to contain Russia's growing capabilities."
"Putin again called the events in Kiev a coup and said Russia had shown it would intervene on the side of 'truth and justice' to defend its compatriots. Putin and Russian officials have repeatedly denied the mounting evidence that the Russian army has been active in east Ukraine, one of the reasons for harsher sanctions from the west."
On top of this, the Los Angeles Times reported that Putin reaffirmed his belief that the Crimean peninsula, where Russian-backed forces initially invaded Ukraine, has historical ties to Russia.
"It was here in Crimea in ancient Khersones or Korsun as the chroniclers called it, that Count Vladimir was baptized [in the 10th century] to then baptize the rest of Rus."
Putin's speech included a proposal to counter Western economic sanctions and the alleged attempt to destroy it. He called for native Russians to return their money and resources to the Russian economy.
The Guardian reported that "[c]apital outflow has been a problem for Russia for years, as rich businesspeople prefer to store their wealth in Britain, Cyprus and elsewhere." The Guardian article then added that Putin said, "I propose a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia."
[Photo via Reuters]