Russia Floats Idea of Seeking Compensations from Ukraine for ‘Damaging’ Crimea after Soviet Collapse
The motion has not been backed by the Kremlin for the time being.
Senior Russian parliamentarians have floated the idea of Moscow seeking compensations from Ukraine for “damages” it caused to Crimea just as the EU lambasted Russia’s leadership on the fifth year since the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula under President Vladimir Putin.
As Moscow was preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the “reunification” with Crimea, the EU’s High Representative on foreign policy Federica Mogherini published a scathing statement declaring the Union would keep the non-recognition of Russia’s annexation of the Ukraine’s peninsula.
In the run-up to the fifth anniversary, however, the Speaker of the Russian State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, stated that Moscow might decide to make Ukraine offset the losses Crimea “suffered” as part of Ukraine.
“Let us request our committees and the relevant committees of the Crimean State Council to consider this possibility and try to estimate the losses Crimea’s economy had suffered as a result of Ukraine’s destructive policies, as well as the people’s losses, and also assess violations of their rights,” he said at a joint meeting of the Duma Council and the Crimean State Council, in Crimea’s capital Simferopol.
“Through our European parliamentary bodies, we can make Ukraine offset Crimea’s losses of 25 years,” Volodin added, as cited by Russia’s state-run news agency Tass.
Volodin did not specify what “European parliamentary bodies” he was referring to, and how exactly they would help Russia secure compensations from Ukraine.
Crimea had been conquered by the Russian Empire in 1783, and remained part of it and later its successor, the Soviet Union. In 1954, however, it was transferred from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union, and after the Soviet Union was formally dissolved in 1991, it remained part of the newly independent Ukraine.
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.
“Ukraine’s attitude towards Crimea was dishonorable, the fundamental rights of Crimeans were violated, including the right to learn and speak their language, receive education in their language. The economy of Crimea and Sevastopol was destroyed, this practically amounted to an annexation,” the Russian parliament Speaker said, instructing a deputy to come up with compensation figures for Ukraine.
He argued that Crimea had been and would remain part of Russia, and that European lawmakers must try to understand that the matter concerned “the reunification of a nation.”
Speaking on Sunday, Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, reiterated Volodin’s idea for demanding that Ukraine compensate Russia for “economic damage” it supposedly caused to Crimea, while on Saturday Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov the assessment of the “damage” would begin over the next month.
Commenting on Volodin’s “compensation” idea, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it had not been discussed inside the Kremlin.
He argued time would resolve all disputes over Crimea “as the most important thing is the Crimeans’ mood and their attitude to how significantly their life over the five years has changed for the better.”
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