Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, frightened with possible appearance of NATO ships in the port of Sevastopol. This was stated by Speaker of the Federation Council of Russia Valentina Matvienko in her interview with Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
“That time, Ukraine had already clearly stated about its intention to join NATO. For its part, the Alliance had not distanced from this intention and had never guaranteed us (Russia — ed.) that Ukraine would remain a non-aligned state,” she said.
“NATO’s ships would be in the port of Sevastopol within a few months. Russia could not allow that,” said the Federation Council Speaker.
NOTE: Russia’s troops without insignia, shifted from the mainland Russia and the Russian Crimean Black Sea Fleet, invaded the Crimean peninsula at the end of February-beginning of March 2014.
Russia organized the so-called referendum, held in the occupied Crimea and Sevastopol on March 16, 2014 and resulted in the annexation.