Vladimir Putin has said Russia was so fearful of attack at the height of the Ukraine crisis that it was preparing to arm its nuclear weapons, in extraordinary claims aired on state TV on Sunday night.

Amid ongoing Russian media speculation that the President was watching the Crimea documentary from his sickbed, Mr Putin’s full interview with Rossiya One provided new insight into his country’s involvement in the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

In the documentary, which marks a year since the referendum that saw Russia take control of Crimea, Mr Putin described the Ukrainian revolution to oust Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 as an armed coup “masterminded by our American friends”.

He said Washington tried to “trick” the world into thinking the regime change was “supported mostly by the Europeans”, according to a translation of the interview on Russia Today.

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