MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - Military aggression against Crimea will constitute an attack against Russia, Mikhail Popov, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, told RIA Novosti in an interview Tuesday.
“Today, Crimea is the territory of Russia and armed aggression against Crimea will be treated as an attack on Russia, with all due consequences,” the official said. “The military force in Crimea, established by the president’s decree, is self-sufficient and capable of repelling a potential invasion of the republic by an aggressor.”
According to Popov, the changed situation around the Russian-Ukrainian border requires a thorough analysis and detailed consideration of all the surrounding circumstances.
However, the main responsibility of the Black Sea Fleet and the military force on the Crimean peninsula remains the same; in Popov's words, “To ensure the military security of the state within the boundaries of accountability.”
After the February overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych, Crimea, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-imposed government in Kiev. On March 16, the republic held a referendum, in which over 96 percent of population voted for rejoining Russia. The West refuses to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.