MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. The topic of Crimea’s reunification with Russia is closed down once and for all, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Italy’s Libero newspaper published in its Thursday issue.
"This topic is closed once and for all," he said when asked if Crimea is to stay part of Russia. "I’d reiterate that it was a free and democratic expression of will of people living in Crimea who made a conscious choice in favor of peace and prosperity."
The Russian top diplomat stressed that such format of the exercise of the right to self-determination "was the only possible way to protect vital interests of the people in the face of the orgy of nationalist and radical elements in Ukraine who seized power in a state coup in February 2014."
"Today, it is obvious that the will expressed by people living on the peninsula has made it possible for them to avoid atrocities of civil war - what the Kiev authorities have been doing in Donbass for more than three years," Lavrov said.
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.
Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have been refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.