UNITED NATIONS, October 14. /TASS/. Russia’s military activity in Crimea is geared to protect the country’s integrity and its citizens living on this territory, Konstantin Vorontsov, acting director of the Russia foreign ministry’s nonproliferation and arms control department, said on Wednesday.
"As for the Ukrainian delegation’s ungrounded statements about militarization of Crimea, I would like to remind that the issue of the jurisdiction over the peninsula and the city of Sevastopol was settled in 2014 by their residents," he said at a meeting of the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. "The Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol are Russia’s integral part. This decision is final and not subject to revision."
"Russia is a sovereign state and has the right to conduct drills, deploy any facilities, organize conscription to the armed forces for its citizens on its territory," he stressed. "As for military activity in Crimea and the adjacent Azov-Black Sea region, it is carried out on the principle of defense sufficiency, like in any other part of Russia, and is geared solely to protect the country’s integrity and people living on its territory."
According to the Russian diplomat, any accusations of violating commitments under the December 5, 1994 Budapest memorandum in respect of the development in Ukraine are absolutely ungrounded. "The profound and catastrophic transformation of Ukraine’s political system was provoked by the internal political and socio-economic processes in that country," he noted. "Russia has nothing to do with them and with their disastrous consequences for the Ukrainian people."
After the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited the third biggest nuclear arsenal after the United States and Russia. In December 1994, Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest memorandum guaranteeing security after Ukraine’s joining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Under the treaty, Ukraine destroyed its nuclear arsenal and Moscow, Washington, and London undertook to guarantee its security. In the process of nuclear disarmament, Ukraine refused from its warheads and ballistic missiles, destroyed missile silos, and scrapped 43 Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russian, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during 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 96.7% 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, or bicameral parliament, on March 21.
Despite the overwhelming results of the referendum, Ukraine still refuses to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.