SIMFEROPOL, March 15. /TASS/. Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has suggested using European parliamentary institutions to make Kiev offset the losses Crimea suffered as part of Ukraine.
"Let us request our committees and the relevant committees of the Crimean State Council to consider this possibility and try to estimate the losses Crimea’s economy had suffered as a result of Ukraine’s destructive policies, as well as the people’s losses, and also assess violations of their rights," he said at the first joint meeting of the Duma Council and the Crimean State Council, dedicated to the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s unification with Russia.
"Through our European parliamentary bodies, we can make Ukraine offset Crimea’s losses of 25 years," Volodin added, eliciting applause from the meeting’s participants.
The State Duma speaker instructed his deputy, Pyotr Tolstoy, to provide those figures to European parliamentary organizations once the estimates were ready. "This isn’t only about money," he noted, adding that the matter also concerned "people’s right to learn and speak their language."
"Ukraine’s attitude towards Crimea was dishonorable, the fundamental rights of Crimeans were violated, including the right to learn and speak their language, receive education in their language. The economy of Crimea and Sevastopol was destroyed, this practically amounted to an annexation," Volodin noted.
"We legislators should call a spade a spade," he said, stressing that Crimea had been and would remain part of Russia. According to him, European lawmakers must try to understand that the matter concerned "the reunification of a nation."
Crimea's reunification with Russia
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence.
On March 16, 2014, Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Over 80% of voters participated in the plebiscite, most of them supporting the idea (96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol).
On March 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21. However, Kiev has so far refused to acknowledge Crimea as part of Russia.