Russia defends Crimea referendum as NATO cries foul

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Russia defends Crimea referendum as NATO cries foul

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Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has defended his country’s actions in Crimea.

Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Churkin celebrated the treaty signed on March 18 declaring Crimea part of Russia:

“Yesterday was a historic event – the coming together of Crimean and Russian people who’ve been waiting for this for 60 years. Using international law and a democratic procedure, without any external pressure, via democratic referendum, the Crimean people have realised their right to self-determination, which is enshrined in all United Nations charters and international acts,” Churkin said.

Russia is facing widespread condemnation in the West for its actions in Crimea.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “The annexation of Crimea through a so-called referendum held at gunpoint is illegal and illegitimate and it undermines all efforts to find a peaceful solution.”