Russian medal for return of Crimea prepared in February

Daily Beast:
Who would have thought that one of the more controversial details to emerge from the annexation of Crimea would come from a simple medal presentation for “heroes”?

Reports first emerged on the Facebook page of Volodimir Prosin, a historian and journalist from the Luhansk region of Ukraine, showing photographs and documents about a medal being awarded by the Russian government to former Ukrainians. On one side of the silver medallion is a raised image of the outline of the Crimean peninsula. The controversy, though, is on the flipside of the coin.

On that side, there’s an emblem of the Russian Federation’s ministry of defense. Below that, this inscription: “For the return of Crimea 20.02.14 - 03.18.14.”

Yet how could the dates of Crimea’s “liberation” have begun on February 20th?

An image of the medal was quickly removed from the Russian defense ministry’s website after the ceremony on March 25, but the damage was done. How could Crimea have been “liberated” in an operation beginning on February 20, the day on which a bloody assault against the Maidan protesters began in Kiev, killing nearly 100 people? Even more perplexing is that Viktor Yanukovych was still officially the president of Ukraine and Crimea on February 20. So how could this operation have begun on that day, while he was still president—or more importantly, why?
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The Russians appear to have planned many of the details of their conquest well before they went public with those plans and this medal is just more evidence of their intent.

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