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Lavrov speaks against idea that Crimea referendum should have been postponed

July 22, 15:16 UTC+3
The minister noted that the referendum was held in conditions when "friendly trains" with weapons were sent there, and Right Sector radicals were preparing for storming administrative buildings
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© Alexandr Ryumin/ITAR-TASS

DVORIKI VILLAGE (Vladimir Region), July 22. /TASS/. The position that referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia should have been postponed is cynical, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

"We are told that we should have waited a couple of months - waited for the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) that usually comes in a week - this is an absolutely cynical position of those who turns a blind eye to the essence of this problem," Lavrov told the National Educational Youth Forum "Territory of Meanings on the Klyazma."

"Those European politicians - and there were a lot of them - who came to see how referendum is held, said in unison that no faults were found there," the foreign minister reminded.

Lavrov noted that the referendum was held in conditions when "friendly trains" with weapons were sent there, and radicals from the Right Sector (organization banned in Russia) were preparing for storming administrative buildings. "And we should have waited for OSCE in such conditions to ask them where to put ballot boxes?" Lavrov wondered.

Crimea, where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

On March 16, 2014 more than 82% of Crimea’s electorate took part in the referendum, when 96.77% in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% in the Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favor of reuniting with Russia.

On March 18, the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia was signed. In July 2014, the European Union and the US imposed sanctions against Crimea and Russia and have repeatedly extended and expanded them.

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