12 Oct 2017 16:29

No new referendum on Crimea status - Aksyonov in response to Poroshenko's offer

SIMFEROPOL. Oct 12 (Interfax) - Residents of Crimea have articulated their attitude toward Ukraine twice in recent history, namely in January 1991 and in March 2014, Crimea's head Sergei Aksyonov said.

"Ninety-three percent of participants voted in favor of restoring Crimea's autonomy within the Soviet Union at the referendum in 1991. [Within] the Soviet Union, not [within Ukraine]! And nearly 97% of our compatriots voted in favor of reunification with Russia in 2014. In my opinion, even the most small-minded Banderite should have already understood that there will not be a third time," Aksyonov was quoted as saying on Thursday by his press service.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Wednesday that Kyiv would be ready to consider the possibility of a new referendum in Crimea if the peninsula returns to Ukraine.

In response, Aksyonov recommended that Poroshenko hold referendums in Transcarpathia or Bukovina.

"And we will look at their result. At the same time, let him hold a vote of confidence in himself as president," he said.

Crimea unified with Russia after a referendum held on the peninsula in March 2014. Ukraine does not recognize its results and still sees Crimea as its territory, which Kyiv says is under temporary occupation. European Union countries and the United States refer to those events as "annexation" and have imposed sanctions on a number of Russian companies, politicians and business people.