Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his new year address that the Crimean peninsula’s “return home” to Moscow’s control is an important chapter in Russia’s history.
“Love for one’s motherland is one of the most powerful and uplifting feelings. It manifested itself in full in the brotherly support to the people of Crimea and Sevastopol, when they resolutely decided to return home,” Putin said in the televised address, adding: “This event will remain a very important moment in domestic history forever.”
Ukraine and the West view the annexation of Crimea as illegitimate.
Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a strongly worded address that condemned Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
She also said that Russia had shaken the “foundation of Europe’s peaceful order.”
“There is no question at all that we want security in Europe together with Russia, not against Russia,” she said. “But equally, there is no question that in Europe we cannot and we will not accept a so-called right of the strongest who violates international law.”
Merkel had appealed to Russia on Sunday to use its influence on rebels in eastern Ukraine to implement a ceasefire agreed in Minsk in September.