Moscow, Mar 22: Russia has more claim to Crimea than Britain has to the Falkland Islands, a senior Russian lawmaker insisted today as London again denounced Moscow's "illegal annexation" of the peninsula.
"Attention London: Crimea has far more reason to be in Russia than the Falklands have to be part of Great Britain," said Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee on Twitter.
The outspoken MP was responding to British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who had earlier today condemned Russia's "flagrant breach of Ukrainian and international law" in seizing Crimea a year ago.
"The annexation of Crimea was illegal and illegitimate in March 2014, and remains illegal and illegitimate in March 2015. Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine," Hammond said in a statement. Argentina claims the Falkland Islands, which lie 500 kilometres (310 miles) off its coast in the South Atlantic -- some 14,000 kilometres from London.
But, the islands have been British since 1833 despite a short lived Argentinian invasion in 1982, which sparked a war in which more than 900 people died. The inhabitants of the windswept archipelago voted overwhelmingly for it to remain a British overseas territory in a referendum in 2013. Shortly after Russia's annexation of Crimea, Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner said the land grab was no more acceptable than Britain's hold on the islands.
"The Malvinas have always belonged to Argentina. Crimea once belonged to the Soviet Union and was then given by (former Soviet leader Nikita) Khrushchev to the Ukrainians," she said using the Spanish name for the islands.