The latest statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about Ukraine taking the annexed Crimea back represent a direct threat to Russia, said the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov.
According to him, Zelensky's statement that the regaining control over Crimea should become Ukraine’s main goal and philosophy means that Kyiv "intends to use all available means, including force, in order to encroach on the Russian territory."
Putin's spokesman added that while Kyiv’s expresses a desire to hold talks with Moscow, these actions make such contacts impossible.
"They simply do not comply with the Minsk agreements and previously reached understandings, meaning Paris and others. Laws are being introduced [by Ukraine]: the law on the Russian language, the law on indigenous peoples, the temporary political structure," Peskov added.
In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.
On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.
International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.