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Lavrov bashes ‘Crimea Platform’ as ‘phony politics’

Russia's top diplomat emphasized the importance of a frank discourse on any issue and noted that the discourse should be based on concrete facts, and not on considerations of ideological solidarity

VIENNA, August 25. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dubbed the Kiev-initiated ‘Crimea Platform’ forum as a performance unrelated to real politics.

"Mr. [Alexander] Schallenberg (Austria’s foreign minister - TASS) has confirmed Austria’s position on Crimea. In this regard, I recalled, of course, how and under what conditions Crimeans were choosing their way back to Russia - after the coup d’etat, after the ultra-radicals and neo-Nazis who had come to power began threatening to kick Russians out of Crimea and sent armed fighters in there," Lavrov said at a news conference on Wednesday.

"Nevertheless, I would like to say that such events as the ‘Crimea Platform’ are, of course, part of a category of phony politics. We all understand that this is artificial, [these] ideas that are translated into this kind of performance."

The minister reiterated that Russia is open to dialogue with other countries on any issue, even with Ukraine.

"Once again I want to emphasize the importance of a frank discourse on any issue, as we are open to that. The main thing is that the discourse should be based on concrete facts, and not on considerations of ideological solidarity, which we, regrettably, more and more often see from our Western counterparts on such issues as Ukraine," Lavrov added.

In September 2020, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced a plan to create a ‘Crimea Platform.’ According to Kiev’s plan, it was supposed to become a platform "for the coordination of international efforts aimed at securing Crimea’s return to Ukraine." The organizers claimed that delegates from about 40 countries and international organizations had agreed to attend the forum.

Earlier, Lavrov lambasted the forum as "a coven where the West will continue to groom the neo-Nazi and racist sentiment of Ukraine’s current authorities." Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on August 21 that Russia will "take note" of the position of the countries that would take part in the forum and "will make corresponding conclusions."

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 that were swept into power amid the riots during the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.7% 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 treaties on March 18, 2014. The documents were ratified by Russia’s Federal Assembly (the bicameral parliament) on March 21.

Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine keeps on refusing to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.