‘Ukrainian leaders come and go. And Crimea has always been, is and will always be Russian,’ Shoigu said at a meeting with journalists in the city of Krasnoyarsk. On Thursday, during an interview for DOM TV channel, Zelensky also said that the Donbass residents who consider themselves Russians make a mistake by staying in that region and advised them to go to Russia.
The Ukrainian president said that Moscow will regret the measures it took regarding Crimea, referring to rejoining that republic to Russia, endorsed by a popular vote approved by most of the population of that territory.
In the elections held in the then Autonomous Republic of Crimea on March 16, 2014, more than 80 percent of those eligible to vote participated. A 96.7 percent of voters in Crimea and 95.6 percent of Sevastopol residents opted for rejoining Russia.
On March 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on the acceptance of these two territories as subjects of the Federation, a document that was approved by the Federal Assembly (Parliament) on March 21 of that year.