Crimea chief comments on future of ‘special military operation’ status — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

Donbass republics joining Russia will mark ‘point of no return’, says Sergey Aksyonov

Russia will soon move from conducting a « special military operation » to a de facto anti-terrorist operation to defend its own territory, the head of the Republic of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said on Monday. Anticipating the results of the vote in the republics of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye, Aksyonov said it would lead to more clarity and determination.

The People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as the two Ukrainian regions majority-controlled by Russian and allied forces, have been voting since Friday on the question of joining Russia – just like Crimea did in March 2014, following the US-backed coup. in Kyiv.

Aksyonov noted that Crimea’s vote was « held by all international laws without a single flaw, but hardly anyone has recognized it », adding that now was not the time to be distracted by questions of “legal purity”.

“Soon we will pass a certain point of no return. A new status for the liberated territories will end the uncertainty,” said the governor of Crimea. « They will become full subjects of the Russian Federation, and we will de facto stop carrying out a special military operation and start an anti-terrorist operation on our own territory. »

Before, we were fighting for our people. Now we will also fight for our land.

The government in kyiv maintains that the vote will not change anything and President Vladimir Zelensky has vowed to continue the war until « release » of all « occupied territories » – including Crimea – with Western aid.

US President Joe Biden on Friday denounced the vote as a « fake » referendum for « forcibly annexing parts of Ukraine in flagrant violation of international law », and declared that Washington and its allies would impose « significant economic costs » on Russia in retaliation.

Aksyonov was elected Prime Minister of Crimea in late February 2014, just days after the violent overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych by US-backed militants. He oversaw the referendum in which the vast majority of Crimeans voted to join Russia. Aksyonov’s own son was among 300,000 Russian reservists called up last week by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, citing kyiv’s failure to implement the Minsk Accords, intended to give Donetsk and Luhansk regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that kyiv’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to save time and « to create powerful armed forces. »

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbas republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked.

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