The ultimate decision should be taken by residents of Crimea, Viktor Yanukovych told journalists.
The ex-leader noted that he had visited the peninsula.
“I would really like Crimea to return to Ukraine. It will depend on Crimea itself, on its residents. After all, when deciding to leave Ukraine, they were protecting themselves and their families, it was their decision. I was in the Crimea and saw their determination, on the one hand, and on the other hand – there was a huge concern, because they feared that Maidan [protests] would spread to the territory of Crimea,” he said.
The fugitive ex-president was aware of Russian sentiment in Crimea.
In November 2016, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague recognized the annexation of the Crimean peninsula as a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and a Russian occupation of Ukrainian territory.
The best part of UN members fail to declare the 2014 referendum in Crimea legal. The West regards Russia’s actions as aggression and violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
On 15 April 2014, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law that declared Crimea and the city of Sevastopol territories occupied as a result of the ‘armed aggression of the Russian Federation’.
In 2014, Belsat TV journalists saw the annexation in their own eyes:
Crimean Trap (in English), report by Belsat TV