UNITED NATIONS, March 16. /TASS/. Russia is proud of the 2014 referendum in Crimea after which the Black Sea Peninsula rejoined the country, Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky told a session at the organization’s headquarters.
"For those who haven’t understood well, I want to say that we are proud of what we did four years ago. We believe this was right. You won’t certainly measure happiness by the number of roads, bridges and thermal power stations which have been built. I want to tell everyone who gathered here: if you really want to find out what is happening in Crimea, you may come and see it with your own eyes," the diplomat said.
The informal meeting of the UN Security Council’s member-states was held at the initiative of the United Kingdom, Poland, the United States and Sweden. Representatives of the Western countries at the session once again accused Russia of the peninsula’s annexation and violating its citizens’ rights. Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Elena Zerkal claimed that Moscow "is turning Crimea into a huge military base" and uses it "as a foothold for military intervention" in other countries. "Syria is one of the recent examples," she said.
In comment to the accusations by Kiev and its supporters, Polyansky stressed that "those who speak about Crimea’s annexation ignore the legitimate right of the peninsula’s citizens to determine their fate themselves." "Ukraine’s loss of territorial integrity is the result of domestic processes to which Russia doesn’t have any relation."
The diplomat said Moscow is not paying any attention to Kiev’s fables in the West, stressing that the life of Crimean citizens has significantly improved. "It is enough today to say about our key achievement - we have protected and preserved the lives of 2.5 million people. They received a chance to develop freely, get education for their children in the language they want - Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean-Tatar."
Crimea is the example "of successfully preventing the conflict and encouraging the free expression of the citizens’ will." "This is the key priority of the UN today," the diplomat said.
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 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 96.77% 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.