“The issue of Crimea is really closed and it was primarily closed by its residents who decided their future … last year. An overwhelming majority voted for Crimea to return to Russia,” Medvedev said in an interview with Slovenian newspaper Delo on Friday.
He further noted that the Crimeans’ decision for the integration of the strategic peninsula into Russia was in full accordance with democratic procedures as well as international law.
“Today the peninsula is integrated into Russia’s social, legal and economic life,” he added, emphasizing that questioning the will of the Crimean citizens is “ridiculous.”
Crimea’s referendum, which was held on March 16, 2014, saw a massive turnout, with 81.3 percent of the eligible voting population participating in the plebiscite.
Some 96.8 percent of voters supported rejoining the Russian Federation, compared to 2.51 percent who voted against it.
The move sparked angry reactions from the United States and the European Union, both of which imposed several rounds of “punitive” measures against Moscow.
Touching on anti-Russia sanctions, the Russian premier also highlighted that the bans have produced “a boomerang effect for those who imposed them.”
“Today, European businesses are increasingly preoccupied with the losses their countries are incurring due to the restrictions against Russia. These losses could be in the tens of billions of euros, economists say,” he said.
Russia has, in return, imposed retaliatory sanctions against many Western entities.