Head of annexed Crimea asks Russians not to come to peninsula

The head of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov urged Russians not to come to the peninsula either on vacation or on business trips.

"I never thought that I would make such a request, but there is no other way today. I urge all our citizens to refrain from coming to the territory of the Republic of Crimea both for business and for recreation purposes, as all Crimean resorts and all recreation places are closed. As our president said, self-distancing is the only medicine for today," Aksyonov said in a video message on Instagram.

In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.

On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.

International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

  Aksyonov, Crimea, Ukraine, Russia