The Kremlin: Yanukovych asked Putin to deploy Russian troops to Ukraine but it was not an official letter

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova, confirmed that fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops in Ukraine, as stated during an interview on the radio program "Moscow Says".

At the same time she accentuated that it was not a letter, but a request made by Yanukovych. "This is not a letter. This is Yanukovych's request. He has never denied that he signed it," Zakharova said, adding that it was a document read by the former Permanent Representative of Russia, Vitaly Churkin.

"Churkin was authorized to quote it at the UN Security Council and he had openly did so. The request was also circulated as a document to the Security Council – a usual practice of communicating information to Council members. The means of sending instructions to Russian envoys abroad is a matter of internal coordination," explained the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

Earlier, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Kremlin had received no formal letter from Yanukovych requesting Russian troops to enter the country in March 2014. The Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation also stated that such a letter does not exist.

On January 17, 2017, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine (GPU) received a photocopy of Yanukovych's request to let Russian troops enter Ukraine. The next day a copy of the document was published.

"In this regard, I address Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, with a request to use the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to restore the rule of law, peace, order, and stability, and to protect the population of Ukraine," the letter reads.

The GPU attached the document to the charges against Yanukovych. The former Ukrainian president is accused of committing treason on March 1, 2014, while staying at an undisclosed location in the Russian Federation, by sending a written statement to the president of the Russian Federation requesting the use of Russian troops in Ukraine. This subsequently resulted in Ukraine's loss of the Crimea and objects of state property amounting to more than 1,080 trillion hryvnia.

  Russia, Ukraine, Yanukovych's letter