WASHINGTON, March 15. /TASS/. Russia’s embassy in Washington has described the US State Department’s statement on the anniversary of the Crimean referendum and President Vladimir Putin’s recent trip to the peninsula as "unprecedented gut-wrenching and acrimonious" and an obvious attempt to influence the political climate in Russia
"Four years ago, Crimeans made a historic choice," the embassy said on Wednesday. "The State Department could not ignore this date and issued an unprecedented gut-wrenching and acrimonious statement. But, as the saying goes, you’re angry, so you’re wrong."
"Ungrounded accusations following President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Crimea that Russia disdains international order reveal yet another blatant attempt to influence our political state of affairs against the backdrop of the upcoming elections. It won’t do," the embassy said.
On Wednesday, US State Department Spokesperson and acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Heather Nauert issued a statement saying that the United States will continue its sanction pressure on Russia until it returns control over Crimea back to Ukraine. "Four years ago this week, Russia held an illegitimate, fabricated "referendum" in Ukraine in a futile attempt to legitimize its purported annexation of Ukrainian territory. Crimean residents were compelled to vote under scrutiny by heavily armed Russian troops. Russia’s claim that Ukrainians made a free choice in that sham "referendum" has always lacked credibility," Nauert said.
According to the Department Spokesperson, during his Wednesday trip to Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin "reiterated Russia’s false claims to Ukrainian territory in another open admission that the Russian government disdains the international order and disrespects the territorial integrity of sovereign nations."
"The Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol have once and for all been integrated into Russia’s political and legal space. Our international obligations in the sphere of human rights are fully ensured on the peninsula’s territory," the Russian embassy stressed. "Living standards in Crimea have been steadily rising," with wages up by 60% and retirement benefits having more than doubled in the past four years.
Commenting on the US State Department’s allegations about the ‘persecution’ of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians in Crimea, the embassy stressed that "no serious interethnic or interreligious conflicts have been reported since Crimea’s reunification" with Russia. "As many as 58 mass media outlets broadcast and publish in the Crimean Tatar language, and 78 do so in Ukrainian," the embassy added.
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 violent 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 on March 18, 2014.
Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine has refused to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.