Dmitry Balakin, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the OSCE stated at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council that the Crimea has completed its integration into Russia’s society, reported the press service of the Russian Permanent Mission to the OSCE.
“Life has proven that the Crimea's residents made the right choice. Now, we can say for sure that its integration into Russia’s common political, legal, social and economic space has been completed,” he said.
Balakin added that the statements on the Crimea's “annexation” and the need to return it to Ukraine are “extremely disrespectful” towards the population of the peninsula.
According to the permanent representative of Russia at the OSCE, residents of the Crimea are being punished by other countries for their political choice. In particular, he noted, western countries deny their visa applications and there are restrictions for international business on the peninsula.
“The will of the Crimea's people expressed in 2014 made it possible to avoid the horrors of civil war that the Ukrainian authorities have been conducting in the Donbas for five years already,” Balakin stressed.
The internationally recognized Ukrainian territory of the Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in March of 2014. The Kremlin has faced international condemnation for its annexation of the peninsula, leading many western countries to impose economic sanctions against Russia. In the United Nations, only Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Syria recognize the Crimea as a legitimate federal subject of Russia.