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Foreign officials might seek to hide personal opinion on Crimea issue — Kremlin

The presidential press secretary's comment came as a follow-up to a statement by OSCE envoy Martin Sajdik
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov  Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. Foreign officials might seek to hide their personal views when it comes to Crimea, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, commenting on a statement by Martin Sajdik, the special representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and the Contact Group on resolving the Donbass conflict.

According to the Ukrainian media, Sajdik said at the Salzburg Europe Summit in Austria that before Crimea’s transfer to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union, the region had been part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and before that, it had belonged to the Russian Empire. Sajdik added that as an OSCE envoy, he is supposed to make careful statements on the Crimea issue, so he would only be able to speak frankly on the matter once he resigned.

When asked if the Kremlin had a feeling that many foreign officials had to hide their personal opinion on Crimea and try to choose their words, the Russian presidential spokesman answered in the affirmative.

Crimean reunification

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.