Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised New Year's address on Wednesday that the "return home" of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula to Moscow's control would remain a very important epoch in Russia's history.
"Love for one's motherland is one of the most powerful and uplifting feelings. It manifested itself in full in the brotherly support to the people of Crimea and Sevastopol, when they resolutely decided to return home," Putin said.
"This event will remain a very important epoch in domestic history forever," he said. Putin's address was broadcast to Russia's Far East regions many hours before Moscow, when it is typically shown just before midnight.