On March 31 2019, presidential elections will be held in Ukraine. During the presidential campaign, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko interviewed by the Ukraina TV channel, said that Crimea will be returned to Ukraine. Poroshenko stated: "We'll do our best to make it happen as fast as possible, right after the elections. We've seen Putin's repeated statements that it won't happen before the election, as he hopes very much that they will elect anybody except Poroshenko and the Ukrainian government will crawl to him and give him Crimea. That is what I stand for. I personally promise you this. I promise it to the Crimea residents. Those people won't have it, we'll liberate Crimea. It is absolutely certain. That is why we're enhancing our military strength; we are strengthening our international support and providing for economic growth. The same will happen with Donbass." It is worth noting the Poroshenko's interview was aired ahead of the March 18 5th anniversary of Crimea's annexation to Russia.
Below is an overview of reactions to Poroshenko's statement:
"Crimea is Russia. Together for five years! Hurrah!" (Source: Vk.com)
Russian Government Official Markelov: There Are More Regions In Ukraine, Which Don't Want To Obey The Fascist Ukrainian Government
During the 60 Minutes talk show on the state channel Rossiya 1, Mikhail Markelov, a Russian government official commented on Poroshenko's statement: "Many of today's politicians in Ukraine that proclaim that Crimea can be returned for some reasons, couldn't do anything, despite all their feeble attempts, in all these five years, not just from Crimea… but for their own nation. And, in all those five years, they've been doing everything they could to destroy their own nationhood… There are other regions in the Ukrainian territory, which don't want to obey to the fascist Ukrainian government… It would have been better if the events of the famous Crimean Spring had happened 25 years ago instead of just five years ago… In in 1991, our Russian government, too, hadn't committed a number of tragic mistakes, then we could have protected the residents of Crimea and time wouldn't have been lost. But, in these five years, we have caught up for this lost time."
(Source: Vesti News)
Crimean Head Aksenov: Poroshenko's Words Are Hot Air
Crimea's Prime Minister, Sergei Aksenov, called Poroshenko's statements jive talk. "The statements by Ukrainian politicians, who have been 'taking back' Crimea for five years already, look especially stupid amid the great success of the Russian peninsula and Ukraine's rapid degradation… So, all their statements have been and will remain hot air," Aksenov wrote on Facebook.
Russian Duma Speaker Volodin: Poroshenko Cannot Win The Elections Fairly
Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin stated: "[Poroshenko's statement] is part of his election campaign, where one of the candidates, Ukrainian President Poroshenko, is an outsider, so this statement… [is] aimed at retaining power." He then added: "This hysteria will most likely escalate because he clearly cannot win fairly. And it is also clear that this kind of election has no credibility."
Russian Expert Melnikov: If Ukraine Will Become European, Then Crimeans Will Regret Annexation With Russia
Russian publicist Alexey Melnikov wrote in his blog on Echo of Moscow that Ukrainian politicians repeats that they want Crimea back, but they do not say how. According to Melkinov, the only way for Crimea to return to Ukraine is to convince Crimeans that Ukraine is better than Russia. However, the only way for Ukraine to do so is to overcome its internal problems and become "European". Only then will the Crimeans say: "Oh, we have been foolish for letting Putin take over the peninsula!"
Melnikov wrote: "One week left before the election of the President of Ukraine. One of the issues of the electoral campaign is how to get back Crimea, which was annexed by Russia. One candidate said that he was confident that, after his victory, Crimea would be returned to Ukraine. Another one said that [Crimea] would be returned only after a change of leadership in Russia. But nobody knows how to answer the question: in which manner?
"However, it is a widespread opinion that to reverse the annexation by Russia does not depend at all on Ukraine. Many also do not deny that Ukraine is weak and can do nothing about it.
"But it is not so.
"The most important thing that Ukraine can do is to make the country European, in such a way that investments will come to Ukraine, people will go to work and it will be rid of corruption. [Then,] people in Crimea will look with envy at how people live in Ukraine and say: 'Oh, we have been foolish for letting Putin take over the peninsula!'
"This is the main way for the return of Crimea.
"It would be like in Germany, when East Germans were envying those of the West. Or like South and North Korea. People flee from North to South Korea, not vice-versa.
"The main tool is the internal development of Ukraine, then the return of Crimea will take place in due course as a natural consequence.
"Another important issue for the future of Ukraine is to refuse any form of recognition for Russia's annexation. No negotiations, compromises or ambiguity. To act differently would be impossible, and if somebody in Ukraine is willing to give up Crimea, this will be the beginning of the end of the new Ukraine.
"In fact, Ukraine has a good prospect solely as a European country and a future member of the European Union. Also, today's Europe, created at the end of the Second World War, in principle, cannot recognize the annexation in any form. For this fact, Russia is in a hopeless confrontation with Europe over Crimea.
"If Ukraine manages, in the foreseeable future, to overcome its internal problems and make the country European, this will be one of the causes for change in Russia. Over time, our country will realize that the seizure of Crimea was undertaken by the Russian authorities with only one purpose – obstruct Russia's European choice, make it hostage to criminal decisions, to enslave citizens, and transform them into the 'new oil'.
"Then, it will be possible to say with a light heart: 'Farewell Crimea! Hello Europe!'"
Liberal Party Yabloko Leader Yavlinsky: Because Of Crimea's Annexation, No Country In The Post-Soviet Space Sees Russia As A Key Partner
Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the liberal political party Yabloko, focused on the "huge" price that Russians had to pay for Crimea's annexation, adding that Crimeans themselves are nor freer nor safer than before 2014.
"… Today, they talk a lot about the 'price of Crimea', give figures, the size of subsidies, allocations, expenses for the construction of a bridge, etc. However, this is not so much about Crimea as about the stagnant Russian economy and inefficiency of governing. By the way, few people believe that with these considerable expenses, people in Crimea began to live much better, freer, safer than before, until 2014, and corruption actually fell for the five years. True, many people there have preserved their Ukrainian passports. In fact, Russia’s payment for Crimea is huge. The price we pay for Crimea is not to be counted in dubious official figures, percentage of the budget share or GDP. The price is different:
"1) In breaking and dismantling (apparently, now forever) of the post-Soviet space, opposing Russia to its closest neighbors. After Crimea, no country in the post-Soviet space sees Russia as a strategic reference point and key partner – neither the EurAsEC countries, nor the CSTO, nor Belarus, with which we are formally close. On the contrary, all the nearest neighbors are scary and it is pleasant for them to deal with us. The perfidious and heavily mixed with lies and propaganda violation of all international and Russian treaties and laws has led all former republics of the USSR to irreversible disappointment.
"2) In isolation, in which Russia found itself ... Vladimir Putin has turned Russia into a country that is perceived throughout the world today as an aggressive mafia state.
"3) In the economic damage from sanctions, which amounted to approximately 6 per cent of GDP since 2014. But even more damage to Russia has been caused by the fact that the Russian economy, being peripheral, is cut off from world connections and is opposed to them.
"4) In the criminal war in Donbas, where dozens of thousands of people died, the victims and hostages of which were primarily residents of the east of Ukraine. Millions of people lost their normal lives, becoming a bargaining chip in a stupid and hopeless geopolitical game. Five years later, life in Donbass was destroyed literally and figuratively.
"5) In the return of total state lies unlimited in scale and cynicism, comparable to Soviet times. As in the USSR, the present authorities can no longer talk to the people without lies and hypocrisy. A lie justifies dirty means and drugs the mass consciousness. As a result, it is this continuous and comprehensive state lie that destroys the country more than anything else…"
 Kyivpost.com, March 18, 2019.
See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7957, Russian Senator Kosachev: The Choice Of The Crimean People Is Irreversible, March 24, 2019.
 See "Poroshenko Hatches New Plan to Take Back Crimea! Military Option on the Table!", March 19, 2019.
 Tass.com, March 19, 2019.
 Tass.com ,March 21, 2019.
 Echo.msk.ru, March 23, 2019.
 Yabloko.ru, March 18, 2019.