President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with the newspaper that Donbass and Crimea could face a future comparable to the “exclusion zone in Chernobyl.”
“This will be dead territory. It will be worse than Chernobyl, ”he said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro.
As Zelensky noted, residents of the unrecognized republics, as well as residents of Crimea, will be able to avoid such a future if they begin to consider themselves Ukrainians.
On March 14, the data of the poll of the telephone VTsIOM were published. According to him, about 90% of Crimean residents support the annexation of the peninsula to Russia. According to the general director of the center, Valery Fedorov, the level of negative assessments and voting for the return of Crimea as part of Ukraine is minimal (3% each). Also, the Crimeans also assessed their level of social well-being. According to the survey, 82% of respondents are more likely to be satisfied with their life, and only 17% spoke about the opposite. Fedorov noted that on average in Russia the indicators are lower – only 64% are satisfied with their lives.
On March 16, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov assured that Crimea will forever remain a part of the Russian Federation and the West, led by the United States, will not be able to change this. He noted that Moscow will continue to work to consolidate in the minds of foreign partners “the realities associated with the return of the peninsula home.”
On March 18, the chairman of the Russian Historical Society, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, said that Crimea and Sevastopol crossed the most important milestone, leaving behind a “dark and oppressive timelessness” after seven years of reunification with Russia.
In 2014, following a referendum, Crimea became part of Russia. During it, 96.77% of the inhabitants of the peninsula and 95.6% of the voters of Sevastopol voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation. Kiev still considers the region to be its temporarily occupied territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that the vote was held in accordance with international law and the UN Charter, and that the issue of Crimea was “finally closed.”
Since 2014, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the residents of Donbass, who refused to recognize the results of the coup d’etat and the new government in Ukraine. At the same time, Kiev blames Moscow for the current situation. Russia has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict. The issues of its settlement are being discussed in the “Minsk” and “Normandy” formats – with the participation of Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany.