"You don't have to be a wise man to see how it will all end if Russia's policy remains the same," Dzhemilev said, adding that "Ukraine will be Russia's last gamble."
"This end can take the form of the country's collapse. This prospect is frightening, since we are talking about nuclear power. The best solution would be democratic changes, but there is little hope for such a scenario. A palace coup is more likely. Putin's entourage has a reason to revolt: they stole billions over the past few years, and today they cannot spend them due to the sanctions," the former head of the Mejlis said.
Dzhemilev also voiced the position of the Crimean Tatars regarding the state affiliation of the peninsula: "We have always co-existed with Ukrainians. They are more democratic, more tolerant, more open to other cultures than Russians. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, we identified our political line, which was to support the independent Ukraine. After 1991, we had good relations with Ukraine. Tatar was a second language on the peninsula.
"I would say that 80% of Crimean Tatars see no other way but to return Crimea under the auspices of Ukraine. Some do not believe that the return may occur during their lifetime, and emphasize that in anticipation of the return they need to live somehow... There are those who feel fear," Dzhemilev said.
He spoke about the repressions that Russians are conducting on the peninsula.
"The authorities are presently investigating the events of Feb. 26, 2014, when the Tatars organized a demonstration to protest against the demand of accession to Russia. There have been searches, arrests ... The goal is to spread fear and force the Tatars to leave. In August 2014, according to UN, 20,000 people left Crimea with more than a half being Tatars. And this figure continues to grow," Dzhemilev said.
At the same time, he expressed conviction that Crimea will return to Ukraine.
Earlier, Ukraine announced that it would impose sanctions against foreign companies opening business in Crimea.