Vladimir Putin Assures to Respect Crimean Minorities’ Rights
Russian President Vladimir Putin has addressed the Parliament on the issue of Sunday's referendum in Crimea.
Over 96% of voters chose for the autonomous Ukrainian region to join the Russian Federation, a move which is not internationally recognized.
"The Crimean referendum was held in full compliance with democratic procedures", Putin stated, quoted by ITAR-TASS.
"The situation has changed. There have emerged attempts to deprive the Russians from their historic memories, and sometimes from their native tongue, to make them subjects of forced assimilation", the President claimed, as a justification to Moscow's policy in the region.
He reiterated his position, stated in previous months, that the Maidan protests had led to an extremist, nationalist coup in Kiev, installing an illegitimate government in the place of a constitutionally elected one.
The Russian President also talked about the issue of Crimean Tatars, a minority in the peninsula, which has expressed fears that its rights would be violated in the event of joining Russia.
"The majority of Crimean Tatars, as the referendum has shown, look up to Russia. All necessary measures should be taken to complete the process of rehabilitation of Crimean Tatars in order to restore their rights to the fullest extent. Crimea will have three fully legitimate state languages, Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar", Putin claimed.
The President admitted that he believes Russia's decision to give Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 was a violation of constitutional norms.
Putin also urged the West to stop the hysteria and acknowledge Russia's national interests.
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