Interfax: Putin: What was done in Crimea was not in any way different from what had been done in Kosovo
(Interfax – November 17, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin has once again said that Russia did not commit any violations of international law by incorporating Crimea and described the Western reaction as totally disproportionate to what had happened.
“We believe that this sort of reaction was totally disproportionate to what had happened. Whenever I hear complaints about Russia violating international law I am simply amazed,” Putin said in an interview with the German television channel ARD in Vladivostok on November 13.
“I am deeply convinced that Russia did not commit any violations of international law,” Putin underscored.
“Yes, I make no secret of it, it is a fact and we never concealed that our Armed Forces, let us be clear, blocked Ukrainian armed forces stationed in Crimea, not to force anybody to vote, which is impossible, but to avoid bloodshed, to give the people an opportunity to express their own opinion about how they want to shape their future and the future of their children,” he said.
Putin recalled “a clear recent precedent – Kosovo” and said, “And what was done in Crimea was not in any way different from what had been done in Kosovo.”
“What is international law? It is first of all the United Nations Charter, international practice and its interpretation by relevant international institutions,” the Russian president remarked.
“Moreover, we have a clear recent precedent – Kosovo,” the president said, adding that the main point of the International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo “was that when making a decision concerning their self-determination, the people living in a certain territory need not ask the opinion of the central authorities of the state where they presently live.”
“They do not need the approval by the central authorities, by the government, to take the necessary measures for self-determination. That is the central point,” Putin pointed out.
“Kosovo, which you mentioned, declared its independence by parliamentary decision alone. In Crimea, people did not just make a parliamentary decision, they held a referendum, and its results were simply stunning,” the Russian president stressed.