Updated 2:45 p.m. Moscow time
SOCHI, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday he was uninterested in the West's opinion of the present status of Crimea as well as other domestic issues within the country.
"I'm not interested in the West's opinion about this and am equally not interested in its opinion in regard to other domestic issues within the Russian Federation," Lavrov said on the sidelines of the Valdai discussion forum in response to the question of whether the West would continue to insist on Russia returning the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine.
In March, Crimea reunified with Russia, following a referendum on the status of the region, with 96 percent of the voters supporting the move. The Ukrainian government and the West refused to recognize the results of the vote, calling it illegal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in a speech following the vote pointed out that the referendum was held in full compliance with democratic procedures and international laws.
Head of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov said earlier he did not rule out that the Western countries would eventually recognize the republic.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on October 17 that it was the Kiev authorities that had forced Crimea to rejoin Russia, as the Ukrainian revolution was hostile toward Russian-speaking citizens, which form the larger part of the Crimean population.