Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov
SIMFEROPOL, September 5. /TASS/. The authorities of Crimea have no contacts with Ukraine’s leadership, Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov said in an interview with independent British journalist Graham Phillips.
"We have no official relations. Only correspondence with their prosecutor’s office. They write to us and we write to them," Aksyonov said, recalling a recent letter to his address on the part of the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office, which summoned him for questioning.
"They summon us there to the Prosecutor General’s Office, and we respond to them via media," he said. "That’s how we live, it’s not boring."
Aksyonov said dependence of the Crimean Peninsula on Ukraine has currently been minimized.
"We don’t any longer depend on them [Ukraine]. They blocked the water flow to us, as for electricity, the Russian Federation supplies it by crossflow via Ukraine, and we produce gas on our own. So formally we don’t depend on them at all," he said.
The Crimean authorities are trying to preserve ties of economic entities in Ukraine and on the territory of the peninsula. "We want our entrepreneurs to communicate with Ukrainian business, to trade, earn money and pay taxes. It’s a normal phenomenon," the Crimean head said.
He said Crimea has long perceived Ukrainian nationals separately from the Ukrainian government.
"Many of us communicate with Ukrainian citizens, are friends with them, maintain relations. An overwhelming majority in the country are normal people who want their country to be happy and successful," Aksyonov said.
Crimea seceded from Ukraine after a referendum on self-determination on March 16, 2014. After that, the peninsula became part of the Russian Federation. Crimea and Sevastopol were incorporated by Russia as separate constituent members.
Crimea's reunification with Russia
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.