Crimean leader says republic to stay with Russia forever

Participants of the festive events dedicated to the second anniversary of Crimea reuniting with Russia, in Simferopol. © Maks Vetrov
The Crimean Republic will remain a part of the Russian Federation “forever,” the head of the region, Sergey Aksyonov, said on Monday in talks with foreign officials.

There will be no return to Ukraine. This question has been completely solved and cannot be reversed. I am confident that Crimea will not change its statehood ever in its life. This is forever,” RIA Novosti quoted Aksyonov as saying at a meeting with a delegation of Jordanian businessmen, activists and former state officials.

Aksyonov also added that he personally did not believe that the issue of Crimean statehood could be solved by military means. “If we speak about the possibility of war, I don’t believe in it. Russia is a nuclear power that is capable of defending its interests and the interests of its allies in any part of the world,” he said.

READ MORE: 2 years on almost all Russians support reunification with Crimea

He accepted that the current “Cold War” between Russia and the West could go on for some time, but forecasted that one day it must end.

Governments come and go, especially in places where people get fooled as is happening now in the West. I am confident that reasonable people will come to power in all these nations, people who understand the great value of good relations with the Russian Federation,” Aksyonov said. “With or without them, Crimea and Russia will withstand all external challenges, I have no doubt about that.”

The Republic of Crimea became a part of the Russian Federation in March 2014 as the result of a referendum in which over 96 percent of Crimean residents voted for the move. The decision was prompted by the ouster of the democratically elected president of Ukraine in a violent coup in Kiev and the installation of a nationalist-backed government that almost immediately declared war on the pro-Russian regions in the country’s southeast, which refused to recognize the newly imposed regime.

In early July this year Russian agency VTSIOM conducted a public opinion poll that showed that about 95 percent of the people living in Crimea would vote in favor of the republic’s accession into the Russian Federation if a referendum on the subject was held again. Only 2 percent of those polled said they would not support the reunification. Three percent of Crimeans found the question too complicated to answer.

In the same poll, Crimeans were asked if they were satisfied with the general situation in their region. Seventy-six percent answered “yes,” of which 34 percent were “very definite” about it. Ninety-seven percent of Crimeans and 98 percent of those living in Sevastopol said they approve of how Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing his job.

READ MORE: No regrets: Almost all Crimean residents support reunification with Russia

Also in March, private pollsters Populus and Iflop, from the UK and France respectively, released the results of their own research which showed that roughly a third of Europeans and a quarter of Americans accept that Crimea is now part of Russia again.
Some 39 percent of Italians, 37 percent of Germans, and 33 percent of UK citizens said Crimea belongs to Russia, according to the survey. In the US, 26 percent of those polled said Crimea was part of Russia, though 42 percent said they had never heard of the Crimean issue at all.