MOSCOW, March 19./TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry returns to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry a note of protest over President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Crimea, without considering it, the ministry said in a commentary on Tuesday.
"As for the note of protest mentioned in a statement of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, sent to the Russian Foreign Ministry, we return such notes without considering them or reacting to them," the ministry said.
"We would like to emphasize that neither the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, nor anybody else was empowered to dictate to the Russian leadership when and how to organize the schedule of visits to the regions in their own state," the ministry said.
"We urge the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to acknowledge the reality - the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol made their historic choice in the spring of 2014 and finally reunited with Russia," the Foreign Ministry said.
"No bellicose statements and attempts of Kiev regime representatives - be it the so far incumbent president of Ukraine who is trying tooth and nail to stay in power and fears to sink into political oblivion, or radical nationalists of different kind, staging subversive acts and blockades against the Crimean people, or corrupt politicians selling national interests in the West for minor concessions and favors - nothing will change the fact that Crimea and Sevastopol are the Russian soil - today and for good," the ministry said.
Putin visited Crimea on March 18 to join festivities marking the fifth anniversary since peninsula’s reunification with Russia.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry voiced protest on Monday, sending a note to the Russian Foreign Ministry in connection with Putin’s trip to Crimea. The ministry said the trip came in violation of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
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 authorities in Kiev who seized power amid riots that sparked a 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 Russia. The Russian president signed the reunification deals on March 18, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.