NUR-SULTAN, December 4. /TASS/. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Wednesday that his country does not view Crimea’s reunification with Russia as annexation.
"What’s done is done. Annexation is too harsh of a word regarding Crimea," Tokayev said in an interview with Deutsche Welle when replying to a question on whether the Kazakh government had been "frightened" by the events in Ukraine, namely the "annexation" of Crimea.
The Kazakh authorities have no fear whatsoever, as the republic enjoys "trust-based, good-neighborly relations with the Russian Federation," he emphasized. "We have believed in the wisdom and honesty of the Russian leadership from the very beginning," President Tokayev stressed.
"I would like to reiterate that the Minsk talks had actually been initiated by [first President of Kazakhstan] Nursultan Nazarbayev," the Kazakh leader added. "However, back then he suggested Astana, but due to logistics and the distance from Europe, the decision was made to hold these talks in Minsk," he explained.
"Today, the Minsk agreements are in fact the only legal document that can eventually lead to the settlement of the so-called Ukrainian conflict," the president stressed.
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, 2014, 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.