Putin awards Valtteri Bottas with Russian F1 GP TrophySport April 30, 18:02
FIA Formula One 2017 Russian Grand Prix boosts off in SochiSport April 30, 15:23
Merkel to pay first visit to Russia in two years for talks with PutinWorld April 30, 14:40
Passenger plane crashes in CubaWorld April 29, 22:49
US anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe violate INF Treaty - Russian foreign ministryRussian Politics & Diplomacy April 29, 20:35
Moscow police say 250 people take part in protest rallyWorld April 29, 16:29
Abe plans to continue dialogue with Putin to solve global issuesWorld April 29, 14:50
Moscow is ready to cooperate with Washington on Syria — LavrovRussian Politics & Diplomacy April 29, 12:24
Diplomat calls US’ allegations about isolation of Russia in UN 'strange'Russian Politics & Diplomacy April 28, 20:58
MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. The presence of Russian military in Crimea in March 2014, ahead of a referendum on reunification with Russia, was absolutely legal, in line with official agreements with Ukraine, Russia’s EU ambassador told German Deutsche Welle on Wednesday.
"The 1997 bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine gave the Russian Federation the right to military presence in Sevastopol, where the main naval base of the Russian fleet was situated, as well as across Crimea, with the numerical strength not exceeding 25,000," Vladimir Chizhov explained.
"The real number (of Russian military) was 16,000 when the crisis began," the diplomat went on. "The gap of 9,000 people was quickly filled through airlifting of reinforcement," he said.
Chizhov also noted a key role of Russian military in Crimea, which was "to ensure security for holding a referendum and for expression of political will by the local population".
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.