BERLIN, December 12. /TASS/. The press service of the German cabinet of ministers has corrected data on Crimea on the German government’s website after criticism by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Spiegel Online web publication reported.
Lavrov said December 9 that “a factsheet on Crimea recently appeared on the website of the German government.”
“Among other things, it says that Crimea has at various times been inhabited by Tatars, Ukrainians, Armenians, Greeks and Germans. Russians are not mentioned there,” the Russian foreign minister said.
“If it is the official website of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, I would like to know who compiled that factsheet. We have filed such a request,” he said.
A spokesman for the German cabinet of ministers told Spiegel Online that “an editorial error” occurred. “We regret it,” he said.
Now the factsheet reads that “the population [of Crimea] over centuries has comprised groups of various national, ethnic and religious affiliation, among them Russians, Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians, Armenians, Greeks and Germans.”
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. 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.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems is actively underway now that Crimea has acceded to the Russian Federation.