‘Disrespect for own motherland’: Poklonskaya blasts presidential hopeful over Crimea comments
A former Crimean prosecutor has accused presidential hopeful Kseniya Sobchak of showing disrespect for her own people by referring to Crimea as “Ukrainian territory” at a recent press conference.
“This could only be said by a person who sees nothing outside their ‘party crowd’ and ‘creative minority’ world,” said Natalia Poklonskaya, a Duma deputy and former chief prosecutor of Crimea.
“The status of Crimea cannot be discussed, I cannot believe that there are some people left who do not know that Crimea and Sevastopol are in Russia,” she told RIA Novosti.
“Such statements coming from public figures who lack foresight and deal mostly with reality shows, can prove only one thing – their disrespect for people and own motherland.”
Poklonskaya said she considered that the people of Ukraine and Russia were “brothers” and “a single identity”, and that only enemies of the two nations attempted to disprove this.
Sobchak, a Russian journalist and former socialite, had described the Republic of Crimea as “Ukrainian territory” during her first press conference following her announcement that she will contest the 2018 presidential election.
She acknowledged that there were many ethnic Russians living in Crimea and that the overwhelming majority of its population had supported reunification with Russia in 2014. However, she still saw the reunification as a violation of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which bound signatories to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The Crimean Republic reunited with the Russian Federation in mid-2014 after more than 96 percent of its population – the majority of whom are ethnic Russians – approved the move in a referendum. The decision was prompted by the ousting of a democratically elected president of Ukraine during a violent coup in Kiev, and a declaration of war on pro-Russian regions of Crimea by the new government.
Natalya Poklonskaya became chief prosecutor of the Republic of Crimea at the age of 33, shortly after the Republic seceded from Ukraine and joined the Russian Federation. The newly installed regime in Kiev reacted by threatening her with arrest, and Ukrainian nationalists reportedly even plotted to assassinate her, but were thwarted by the Russian security services.
In September 2016, Poklonskaya was elected as to the lower house of the Russian parliament as a representative of its largest party, United Russia.