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MOSCOW, November 19. /TASS/. Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet President and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, said on Wednesday he believes the West has accepted Crimea’s choice to rejoin Russia.
“In my opinion, it (the West) has already put up with this,” the former Soviet leader said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, answering a question whether the West has accepted the fact that Crimea is now part of Russia.
According to Gorbachev, the current Ukrainian crisis results from the hasty collapse of the Soviet Union after the so-called Belavezha Accords signed by the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian leaders in 1991.
“When the Belavezha Accords were being discussed, they should have definitely returned to the issue of Crimea,” he said. “Russia must not be torn away from Crimea. This is its child,” the politician stressed.
Crimea, donated as a “gift” to Ukraine by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, reunited with Russia in March 2014 after a referendum, which saw a landslide vote in favor of reunification.
After the historic vote, Gorbachev said the people of Crimea corrected a Soviet-era mistake and their will should not be punished by sanctions.
In early November, Gorbachev, a recognized “father” of united Germany, attended the celebrations marking the 25th anniversary since the Fall of the Berlin Wall and met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The former Soviet leader called for reconciliation between Russia and the European Union despite the current tensions in relations over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.