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A 16-year-old Ukrainian boy sends back a wristwatch given to him by Russian President Vladimir Putin ten years ago, to protest against Russia's military intervention in Crimea, according to a video produced by a pro-Ukraine media group.
As Russians deployed more troops in Crimea, a 16-year-old Ukrainian boy sent back a wristwatch given to him by Russian President Vladimir Putin ten years ago, a video produced by the Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre said.
Andrei Senko said in the video voiced in Russian that he would not be able to wear the watch while there was a threat of a war between Russia and Ukraine.
In 2004 Vladimir Putin visited Ukraine and answered questions from ordinary Ukrainians sent over the Internet. Among 50,000 questions there was one from then-six-year-old Andrei who asked the Russian leader what he was dreaming about.
Putin thought this was the best question and Senko said he was invited along with his father to meet Putin and the then-president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma.
"During that meeting Vladimir Putin told me that his dream is for all children and their parents to be happy and live in peace. Kuchma gave me a laptop as a gift, while Putin gave me a presidential wristwatch. But I couldn't wear it because it was too big for me. And my family and I decided that I will start wearing it when I turn 16," Senko said in the video.
He turned 16 on February 5, just two weeks before the violent clashes in his city, the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, led to 88 deaths and the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich.
On March 7 Senko received his first passport as a Ukrainian citizen.
At the same time, pro-Russian forces were moving in to control Crimea after the Russia parliament approved deployment of Russian troops in the Ukrainian territory.
Senko said that made him angry, and he addressed Putin directly in the Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre video.
"But I will not be able to wear this presidential watch. Vladimir Vladimirovich, I'm addressing you personally. Since my childhood years I've been raised to love my motherland Ukraine and my people. I'm a peaceful person. But if needed I'm ready to go and to defend peace on my land. I remember your words about your dreams. You said you wanted for everybody to be happy and live in peace. But you lied to me. And just because of that I have to return your gift to you," he said.
"If only I had an opportunity to meet you in person I would say this to your face: Vladimir Vladimirovich, you are a liar," the 16-year-old added.
Senko's family supported him in his move and called on Putin to refrain from war.
"We are a peaceful family, we don't want war along with all citizens of Ukraine. Vladimir Vladimirovich, while it's not too late, think again, we don't need to spill our brotherly blood," Senko's father Alexander said in the video.
The video shows Senko at a post office preparing to send a parcel with the wristwatch back to Putin in the Kremlin.
"Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, ten years later I have to return your gift to you. This watch is no longer a subject of my pride, but rather evidence of a huge lie," Senko said to the camera at the post office.
The video also showed him removing a ten-year-old photo of himself with Putin from the wall of his room.
The Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre organizes news conferences with government ministers and activists associated with the movement that ousted Yanukovich.
The people working there say they are an independent press centre aiming to help foreign journalists get more information about the situation in Ukraine and are privately funded.