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Top Russian lawmaker says ex-Ukrainian President Poroshenko is a ‘dreamer’ over new claim that Kiev will retake Crimea within year

Top Russian lawmaker says ex-Ukrainian President Poroshenko is a ‘dreamer’ over new claim that Kiev will retake Crimea within year
The former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has sparked an explosive war of words with Russian politicians after insisting that Kiev will soon reassert control over the disputed Crimean peninsula, within the coming year.

As part of an address to Muslims on the eve of the celebration of the holy period of Eid al-Adha on Monday, Poroshenko called on Crimea’s historic Islamic Tatar population to support Kiev’s claim of sovereignty over the region.

“I believe that by joint efforts we will surely defeat the aggressor and return Crimea home,” he wrote, adding that the holiday would be celebrated on the peninsula as part of Ukraine next year.

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Responding to the comments on Tuesday, Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s committee on international relations, said that the one-time Ukrainian president was a notorious “dreamer” and was out of touch with reality. “He has proved this regularly,” Dzhabarov went on, “when he was in office and after that. Apparently he is preparing for a new presidential campaign.”

The same day, Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of Crimea on information policy, said that Poroshenko would only be able to visit the peninsula as a defendant in a criminal case. He added that a tribunal would await him, and “after that, we had a good prison colony in the city of Kerch.”

The status of Crimea has become a long-standing bone of contention in relations between Moscow and Kiev since the peninsula was reabsorbed by Russia in 2014. Residents overwhelmingly voted to rejoin the world’s largest country in the wake of Ukraine’s Maidan uprising. However, the validity of the vote is disputed by Kiev and a large number of other nations, and virtually all Western countries.

Last month the British navy ship HMS Defender crossed two miles into Crimea’s territorial waters. While Russia considers this to be its sovereign territory, London insisted it was simply engaging in “innocent passage” within Ukraine’s maritime borders. The Russian navy dispatched vessels and jets to escort the Type-45 destroyer, and fired warning shots before it returned to international waters.

Speaking later that month, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked “why was it necessary to make such a provocation? For what?” he demanded. “To show that they have no respect for the choice of the Crimeans to join Russia?”

“Even if we had sunk that ship, it would still be hard to imagine that the world would be on the brink of World War III,” Putin added. “Because those who are doing this know that they can’t get out of this war victorious.”

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