"In fact, Crimea is not our initiative as well. We are to "thank" the United States for this. It was Washington that triggered the process of anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine. Crimea joined Russia not because Russia strove for it but because the residents of the peninsula held referendum and decided by an absolute majority vote that they wanted to live as part of Russia, rather than Ukraine," he said.
According to him, the only alternative to the occupation of Crimea was major bloodshed on the peninsula. "Therefore, I am convinced that the international community should be grateful to us for Crimea - grateful for the fact that there were no mass casualties in this region unlike it was in the Donbas," Nikolai Patrushev said.
He is convinced that the international community will recognize Crimea as the Russian territory one day. "The decision of the residents of Crimea should be respected while the referendum on the status of Crimea has been held in line with international law and the UN Charter and has taken into account the Kosovo precedent as well," the Russian official said.