‘Crimea is Ukrainian territory’ – It girl-turned-presidential candidate Sobchak outlines her program
Former TV personality and socialite Kseniya Sobchak described the Republic of Crimea as “Ukrainian territory” in her first press conference as a candidate in next year’s presidential election.
She also claimed that Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation in 2014 was a violation of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which bound signatories to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
“From the point of international law, Crimea is Ukrainian. Period. Let us move on with our conversation,” Sobchak said on Tuesday, according to RIA Novosti.
Sobchak acknowledged that there were many ethnic Russians living in the Republic and that the overwhelming majority of its population supported reunification with Russia in 2014. Nonetheless, she still saw the reunification as a violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
“Not as a politician, but as a woman, as Kseniya Sobchak, I can say that right now the most important thing for Russia and Ukraine is to restore friendship at any cost. Period,” she added.
The former journalist’s comments on Crimea contrast with previous statements that she has made on the subject. She told the Polish edition of Newsweek in March 2015: “Today, the discussion over Crimea is already closed. Crimea is a part of Russia and any further discussion whether it should be returned or not makes no sense.”
Sobchak, 35, is best known for her reputation as one of Russia’s leading socialites, but she has also enjoyed success as an entrepreneur and journalist. In the early 2000s, she hosted a popular reality TV show called ‘Dom-2’ on Russian television.
The presidential candidate is currently working as an editor-in-chief at the Russian edition of L’Officiel magazine.
Sobchak also boasts an impressive political pedigree, however, and comes from a family of successful career politicians. Her mother Lyudmila Narusova is a long-time senator, and her late father Anatoly Sobchak was the mayor of St. Petersburg under whom Vladimir Putin started his political career.
The Crimean Republic reunited with the Russian Federation in mid-2014 after more than 96 percent of its population – the majority of whom are ethnic Russians – approved the move in a referendum. The decision was prompted by events precipitated by the ousting of a democratically elected president of Ukraine during a violent coup in Kiev.
A nationalist-backed government was installed and declared war on pro-Russian regions in the southeast of the country, which had refused to recognize the new leadership.
Public opinion polls conducted in recent years have shown that the overwhelming majority of the Crimea’s population believe that reunification with Russia was the right choice.
Last February, US President Donald Trump announced that he expected Moscow to “return” the peninsula. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded by saying that Crimea was a Russian territory, and that Russia never returns its territories.