VORONEZH, October 13. /TASS/. Crimea’s reunification with Russia was legal, so any compensation to Ukraine for the peninsula is out of the question, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, commenting on an initiative that Czech President Milos Zeman put forward at the PACE session.
"It is not right to speak about annexation of Crimea both from a factual and legal standpoint, so any compensation is out of the question," Peskov said.
He reiterated that the decision to secede from Ukraine had been taken by a legitimate body - the Crimean Supreme Council - amid the Ukrainian coup and the spread of radical nationalist ideas, "which, unfortunately, still remains there." Only after that did Moscow make a decision to accept Crimea into Russia, Peskov noted. "This is why using the word ‘compensation’ and saying that it can be applied to the situation is not correct in our view - actually, it is totally incorrect," he added.
When asked as to how important Kiev’s possible recognition of Crimea’s reunification with Russia was for the Kremlin, the Russian presidential spokesman hoped that "sooner or later we will have that recognition." "The will of millions of people living on the peninsula should be respected. And we also hope that after that it will be possible to normalize relations between Russia and Ukraine," the Kremlin spokesman stated.
According to Peskov, the Czech president’s speech in PACE is part of the European Union’s internal debate. "We definitely respect Zeman as a very reputable politician who has long had good relations with President Putin," he said. "We have been keeping an eye on the EU’s internal debate, so we also paid attention to Zeman’s recent statement [on Crimea]," the Russian presidential spokesman noted.
On October 10, in response to a question by a member of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, the Czech president said that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was "an accomplished fact". He added that Russia could pay compensation to Ukraine "in financial form or in oil and gas." According to Zeman, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s decision on handing over Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was a mistake. "Nikita Khrushchev did an unpardonable foolish thing, and many politicians acknowledge today that Crimea cannot be returned to Ukraine," Zeman stressed.
Ukraine sharply reacted to Zeman’s statement, the country’s foreign ministry protested, and President Pyotr Poroshenko, while addressing the PACE session on October 11, said that Ukraine would not sell its territories.