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Putin Pat on the Back: Russians in Crimea Seizure Will be Awarded

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that he will bestow awards on Russians who took part in the seizure of Crimea.

"Of course there will be state decorations," Putin said in an interview with the state-run Rossiya television station to be broadcast later on Saturday.

The West criticized the Russian troops' presence in Ukraine and later, Crimea's referendum on independence, which took place under Russian occupation. But Putin said the vote would have been "impossible" to stage.

Putin added that relations with the West can improve, but "normal cooperation" is contingent on the action's of the West.

"This does not depend on us. Or rather not only on us. This depends on our partners," Putin said.

— Reuters