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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 508
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Says Crimea Issue Is "Closed" But Ukraine Disagrees
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that the issue of Crimea is "closed," and was this not up for discussion. Voice of America reports:

“The Crimea issue - and I think everyone understands this, including those who cannot stop talking about it - is closed,” Lavrov said, speaking Thursday at a news conference on the sidelines of a regional summit in the Russian city of Ufa, according to a transcript of his remarks published by Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

“It was closed by the people of Crimea and through the decisions made by the Russian Federation in response to the will clearly expressed by the Crimean people,” Lavrov said, referring to a controversial referendum, which Russia says justified its March 2014 annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

“None of our partners are saying that they don’t recognize the results of the referendum, which became the basis for Crimea’s return into the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said at the BRICS-Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit which brought together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Ukraine sees things very differently. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that Crimea was "closed off" by Russia, and neither side looks close to seeing eye to eye on this issue. CNS News reports:

“No country for which human rights, international law and global security are not hollow concepts, will ever recognize Russia’s occupation of Crimea or the criminal decisions adopted by the Russian Federation,” he told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

“Russia closed off Crimea from the world,” Klimkin said. “Russia has also closed off Crimea for those on the peninsula who want to live in freedom and prosperity on their native land.”

Meanwhile one of Lavrov’s deputy foreign ministers, Sergei Ryabkov, said Thursday that the notion Russia will ever give up Crimea in order to have the Western sanctions lifted was mistaken.

“To think that Russia will change its policy under the sanctions, if they remain in force, is one of the biggest mistakes of a modern foreign policy pursued by the United States and the European Union,” the Itar-TASS news agency quoted him as saying in Moscow.

“The sanctions imposed over Crimea may last forever because Moscow will never change its stance on Crimea,” he said.

-- James Miller