MOSCOW, April 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia did not plan to incorporate Crimea, it was Moscow's reaction to the development of the crisis in Ukraine, ex-Russian premier Yevgeny Primakov said during a lecture for Moscow State University students in the Russian capital on Wednesday.
“The reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia was not a well-thought-out decision but rather reaction to the development of the crisis in Ukraine, which had been orchestrated from outside,” Primakov said.
He said Russia “took measures to ensure security of the peninsula’s population during the vote from raids and provocations by radicals”.
Primakov also noted that the unity was massive.
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 the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities, who had come to power amid riots after a coup in Ukraine in February.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11. They held a referendum on March 16, 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.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when it was gifted to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.