In an interview with Radio Liberty, first Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk claimed that First General-Secretary of the CPSU (Communist Part of the USSR) Central Committee Nikita Khrushchev literally forced Ukraine to take the Crimea in 1954.
According to Kravchuk, the residents of the peninsula met Khrushchev in tears prior to the adoption of this decision.
"’Nikita Sergeyevich, we cannot live here, we do not know how to work here, it's not ours, take us away from here.’ Khrushchev, without stopping, turns the train around and goes to Kyiv. Goes to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine ... and says: ‘you must take the Crimea yourself’," said Kravchuk.
Kravchuk added that it was a "headache" for Kyiv.
"Absolutely, it was a pain, because it was necessary to transfer part of our resources to the Crimea. And over the years, since 1954, Ukraine has invested more than one hundred billion dollars there; undertaken on water, roads, resorts, the restoration of agriculture, culture and so on. So, these myths, which all the time come from Moscow, that the Crimea is their territory, that the cities are their glory, are all fictions. Khrushchev did not give Ukraine the Crimea, he forced the Crimea onto it, motivated by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, so that Ukraine, having experience in the Odessa, Kherson and Mykolayiv oblasts, could help the Crimea; which, in fact, happened. Ukraine helped put the Crimea on its feet. And now they [Russia] have annexed the Crimea, and also asserts that this is the return of the Crimea," said the first president of Ukraine.