Russia's Putin denies Russian troops took Crimea

MOSCOW, March 4 Tue Mar 4, 2014 6:09am EST

MOSCOW, March 4 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin denied on Tuesday that Russian troops seized Ukraine's southern Crimea region, saying "local forces of self defence" were responsible for taking over official buildings.

Putin also told a news conference that Russia had no interest in provoking separatist sentiment in Crimea.