Talking points for the Media briefing on the fifth anniversary of the reunification of Crimea with Russia (March 19, 2019)
Crimea and Sevastopol are an integral part of the Russian Federation. The reunification of the peninsula with Russia was the consequence of a coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014 supported by the Western sponsors. When anti-Russian forces came to power in Kiev in March, 2014, a referendum was held on the peninsula and in the city of Sevastopol in which more than 96% of the autonomy's population, who saw their future together with Russia and reasonably worried about their fate, spoke in favor of reunification of the Crimea with the Russian Federation adopted by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on March 18, 2014. We reiterate that the Crimean people exercised their right to self-determination, enshrined in the UN Charter and “The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States” adopted by the UN General Assembly on October 24, 1970, via a free and peaceful referendum vote in line with democratic standards. The question of the peninsula has been settled once and forever.
The allegations that the Russian authorities supposedly impede visiting the peninsula are absolutely untrue. Our state notes with satisfaction the growing number of people having unbiased opinion on the situation in Crimea, and the interest in cooperating with it from foreign businesses, civil society and political circles. This trend is reflected in the ever increasing number of foreign delegations, as well as in tangible results of a wide range of international events on the peninsula. The most informative and productive of which was the IV. Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF), which took place in April, 2018, and turned into a representative platform for a constructive discussion of the Crimean issue and promotion of investment opportunities on the peninsula. We invite all of you to the V. YIEF which will take place on April 18-20, 2019. The Embassy is pleased to facilitate participation of the Botswana’s distinguished officials, businessmen, and journalists at the Forum this year.
1. Regardless of systematic malicious speculations, Crimea enjoys an atmosphere of inter-ethnic accord characterized by consideration for all ethnic minorities. The government guarantees the unconditional observance of international obligations in the field of human rights. The multi-ethnic population of Crimea fully exercises its rights to freedom of speech, assembly and mother-tongue medium education, with the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian languages having official status. The Crimean Tatars are represented in all government bodies of the peninsula, such as security and law enforcement agencies in proportion to their share in Crimea's population.
2. The politically motivated nature of the information campaign launched against our country concerning the alleged human rights problems in Crimea is obvious. The case related to the adoption by the UN General Assembly in December 2018, of annual resolution on human rights situation in Crimea initiated by Kiev with the US and the EU patronage is illustrative as the majority of the countries either abstained from voting, like Botswana, or did not support anti-Russian actions.
The submission by Ukraine of a draft resolution on the "militarization" of Crimea, as well as parts of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea to the UN General Assembly in December, 2018, is a clear demonstration of the fact that Russia, on legal grounds and in accordance with its Constitution, exercises its state sovereignty in the territory of the Crimean peninsula, including measures to strengthen the country's defensive potential and drafting measures.
3. Despite the challenging legacy of the "Ukrainian period", including poor state of the major part of key assets and infrastructure, as well as accruing sanctions pressure, Crimea's social and economic situation is improving.
In 2018, the Simferopol International Airport came into operation, which significantly increased the passenger transport capacity of the peninsula. The new international airport terminal can accommodate up to 7 million people annually. In 2015-2016, 520 km of Crimean roads were repaired, and there are plans to upgrade 700 more km of roads by 2021. The opening of the Crimean Bridge for road traffic in May 2018, has significantly benefited the dynamics of Crimea's socio-economic development.
4. To ensure stable water supply for the population of Crimea, 100 km of new water pipelines have been built, and the creation of a multipipe water conduit for the replenishment of the North Crimean Canal, which was shut off by Ukraine, will be completed by 2020.
Due to energy blockade of Crimea by Ukraine in November 2015, interim schemes were promptly established to supply power via an "energy bridge", composed of hundreds of generators in Kuban, 3 high-tension cables under the Kerch strait and a cross-country twin gas pipeline. To ensure a stable generating capacities surplus and to end Crimea's energy dependence on Ukraine, two new high-capacity thermal power plants (TPP) – Balaklavskaya TPP in Sevastopol and Tavricheskaya TPP in Simferopol district with the total capacity of 940 megawatt, have been constructed and already put into operation. Thus, the problem of power supply in Crimea is now successfully resolved.
5. The Federal Special Purpose Program "The Social and Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol until 2022" with a budget of about 1 trillion rubles has been implemented since 2015. Its growth rates are among the highest in the country. Positive dynamics is being observed in almost all main economy sectors of Crimea along with sustainable regional budget revenue increase, residential development is gaining momentum, signs of industrial and agricultural recovery are visible, and traditionally important resort and tourism industry is flourishing.
Since Crimea's reunion with Russia actual wages of people working in the public sector as well as pensions and allowances in Crimea have increased by 2-2.5 times and approached to the all-Russia level. The growth of the tourist flow in Crimea, which has continued in recent years, accelerated markedly in 2018 and reached 6.5 million people (for instance, in 2014 the peninsula was visited by less than 4 million people).
According to the German edition of Der Globus Deutschland, the so-called annexation became the true renaissance for the peninsula and its inhabitants. For five years in Russia, the Crimea has achieved more than for 25 years as a part of Ukraine. At the same time, the current status of the Crimea is becoming more and more recognized abroad - the peninsula is considered as Russian by 36% of the population of Germany and Italy, 25% of the population of the United States and Great Britain, the authors specified.
In conclusion, I would like to express many thanks to your attendance and invite everybody to visit Crimea to see first-hand that things are going well there.