Ukraine’s president elect has said that one of his main priorities is to return Crimea to his country’s rule but Russia says Crimea will not be returned to Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Crimea is part of Russia and will never be returned to Ukraine.
Peskov’s comment came after Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko said during an acceptance speech on Monday that he will bring back Crimea under Ukrainian rule,
“The number one issue is that Ukraine will never recognize the illegitimate referendum and will never recognize the occupation of Crimea. And the strategic choice for the development of our country has been made by the Ukrainian people. Today, on May 25, in the first round the people have made their choice. And that choice is European integration,” Poroshenko said.
Partial results from Ukraine’s yesterday presidential election show that businessman and politician Poroshenko is in the lead with a wide margin.
The country’s central elections commission said Monday that with the ballots counted in some 40 percent of precincts, Poroshenko has so far received 54.06 percent of the votes. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is in a distant second place with 13.12 percent.
According to the commission, about 60 percent of the country’s 35.5 million eligible voters participated in the vote.
Crimea rejoined Russia in March following a referendum which nearly 97 percent of participants voted for rejoining Russia.
On May 12, Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence following local referendums in which the regions’ residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Kiev.