Ukraine wants Crimea back only as an unpopulated territory, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday, commenting on the pronouncements by Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Alexei Danilov.
Danilov reportedly said that Kiev was refraining from a military campaign to win back Crimea only because it was afraid of large-scale casualties. He said that if Ukraine had "a possibility to take these territories," it would have done that. But Kiev, in his words, understands that it might entail "enormous casualties, first of all, among the civilian population."
"I would like to thank Alexei for being so straight," Zakharova wrote on her Facebook account. "This is it: Crimea is merely a territory for Kiev and it wants it without people because ‘civilian population’ doesn’t want it and will offer resistance, hence, it will be exterminated."
"Nevertheless, Ukrainian authorities care little about ‘enormous casualties’ when they try to implement their plan of ‘taking back territories without population’ in Donbass," she emphasized.
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, TASS reports.
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 treaties on March 18, 2014. The documents were ratified by Russia’s Federal Assembly, or bicameral parliament, on March 21.
Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine has been refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.