The former US president acknowledged that many residents on the peninsula felt Moscow supported their interests in 2014
Former US President Barack Obama’s recent remarks on Crimea featured some “rational thinking,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said. In an interview aired by CNN on Thursday, Obama acknowledged that a large number of residents on the peninsula supported Russia’s position in 2014.
“There’s a reason why there was not an armed invasion of Crimea [in 2014], because Crimea was full of a lot of Russian speakers,” the former US leader told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, adding that “there was some sympathy to the view that Russia was representing its interests.”
Responding on Friday, Peskov stated that “from time to time such rational thinking finds its way out [in the US].”
“There was indeed a sufficiently large faction of politicians who supported the idea of developing good relations with Russia [and] who spoke out against Russophobia being imposed,” he added.
The Kremlin spokesperson, however, took issue with Obama’s estimate on the number of Crimeans who backed unification with Russia.
“It’s not a certain part of the Crimean population, but practically the entire Crimean population that wanted to become part of the Russian Federation,” Peskov said.
The vast majority of Crimeans voted in favor of joining Russia in a referendum held in March 2014, shortly after a Western-backed coup had deposed the democratically elected government in Kiev.
Many Crimean residents refused to recognize the new authorities in Kiev and expressed concern at the potential forced ‘Ukrainization’ of the peninsula, including discrimination against Russian speakers.
Ukraine, the US and the EU branded the vote illegal and have described it as an “annexation.”
June 23, 2023 at 08:06PM