VIENNA, January 14./TASS/. Crimea became part of Russia through the democratic choice of its people and in accordance with international law, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich told an online meeting of the European security agency’s Permanent Council on Thursday.
"We reject your statement on Crimea, dear Madam, Chairperson-in-Office. The peninsula became an integral part of the Russian Federation as a result of the democratic choice of the people in full accordance with international law," Lukashevich told the meeting.
The Russian envoy added that as the OSCE chair, Sweden could always count on Russia’s support for the initiatives that would contribute to lasting peace and unity, and hoped that the Swedish presidency would effectively work as a truly ‘honest broker’.
On Thursday, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde said that a stable political solution to the conflict in Ukraine should be achieved in line with the principles and commitments of the OSCE, with full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
After the pro-Western coup d’etat in Ukraine in February 2014, Crimea and Sevastopol officials held a referendum, in which 96.7% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Eighty percent of the voting population participated in the referendum. The Russian president signed the reunification deal on March 18, 2014, which the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament) ratified on March 21, 2014. Despite the results of the referendum, Kiev, along with various predominantly Western countries, refused to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.