Crimea Will Be Russia’s ‘Forever’, Threats Are ‘Useless’, Moscow Tells West 5 Years after Annexation
Putin and Medvedev have once again justified the acquisition of Crimea through the referendum they held there after Russian troops took over the peninsula.
Crimea will remain part of Russia “forever” as an expression of “democratic principles” and threats are “useless” – those were the messages sent by Russia’s leaders Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev as Moscow celebrated the 5th anniversary since its “reunification” with the Black Sea peninsula deemed an annexation of Ukraine’s territory by the West.
The EU’s High Representative on foreign policy Federica Mogherini already lambasted Russia’s leadership over the anniversary declaring the Union will keep refusing to recognize Crimea’s annexation and imposing sanctions against Moscow.
In response to Ukraine’s Euromaidan Revolution in the winter of 2013-2014, which ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sent troops to occupy the Crimean Peninsula, and then annexed it on March 18, 2014.
This has been followed by a pro-Russian insurgency possibly aided by Moscow in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine, with Ukraine and Russia remaining involved in a “cold’ conflict ever since.
Because of Crimea’s annexation and the war in Eastern Ukraine, the EU has introduced sanctions against Russia, and so have the United States, Canada, and other Western nations.
During Monday’s celebrations in Russia, however, Russia’s leaders Putin and Medvedev emphasized the referendum held on the Black Sea peninsula after it was taken by Russian forces describing it as an expression of the free will of the local population.
After he opened two new thermal power plants in Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the West’s refusal to recognize the peninsula’s acquisition by Moscow as “disrespect for democratic principles.”
“It was a landmark event in the history of Russia. We have shown the entire world that we nurture our interests and can protect them,” Putin stated, as cited by AP.
“Five years ago a treaty was signed between Russia and the Republic of Crimea on its accession to Russia and the establishment of new entities within the Russian Federation. The residents of the peninsula made a landmark decision at the referendum – to become part of the Russian Federation, thus making a crucial choice,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement released by his office, as cited by state-run news agency Tass.
“Any economic sanctions, political pressure or military threats are useless. We are once again together, and this is forever,” Medvedev declared, adding that some 310 billion rubles (4.8 billion US dollars) would be provided by the central budget for Crimea’s development over the next three years.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded to EU foreign policy chief Mogherini’s statement on Crimea by declaring that “the EU and NATO [should] stop politicking and to start listening to Crimeans.” It rejected the EU’s accusations of violating the human rights of the Crimean Tatars.
Meanwhile, Russian Senator Viktor Bondarev, the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security, announced that Moscow had deployed squadrons of missile-armed Tu-22M3 long-range bombers in Crimea.
He argued the move was in response to deployment of elements from the US missile shield in Europe in Romania’s Deveselu air base.
Senior Russian parliamentarians have also floated the idea that Moscow should seek compensations from Ukraine for “economic damage” done to Crimea after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
(Banner image: Russian Presidency)