Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov speaks for raising the question of withdrawal the Crimea and Sevastopol from Ukraine, and transferring these territories to Russia.

He said this in an interview with “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” newspaper, published today.

Commenting on the Wednesday decision of the Russian State Duma (the Russian parliament issued a statement saying that Ukraine`s accession to NATO would unilaterally terminate a friendship treaty with Russia), Yuri Luzhkov called it a half-hearted decision.

“We should terminate the friendship treaty in any case, regardless of whether Ukraine will enter NATO or not”, the Moscow Mayor stressed.

“I openly claimed this during my visit to Sevastopol. Ukrainians accused me of desire to promote myself in such a way. But how they can call it a PR, if I claimed about it at the Council of Federations as early as in 1998, when the draft treaty was only discussed? I categorically opposed to conclusion of this treaty, because, as early as that times, they already persecuted the Russian language in Ukraine, and they already sought to enter NATO… And now we may state that they are running there. But I speak about the Ukrainian leadership, and not about the Ukrainian nation”, he stressed.

Yuri Luzhkov is confident that the decision to terminate the treaty with Russia must be made till October of the current year, or, at least, it is necessary to suspend this treaty, “to conclude a new one, and to raise the question of returning the Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia”.

“Without [these territories], where will we deploy our Black Sea Fleet, which has already become four times weaker than the Turkish one?”, he stressed.

Asked whether there are any real mechanisms of the withdrawal of the Crimea and Sevastopol, Yuri Luzhkov said at first it is necessary to draw up a new treaty and to submit this territorial dispute into international legal organizations, to solve it calmly, without any strong-arm measures.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on May 22, the Russian Foreign Ministry barred the entry to a number of Ukrainian politicians, in response to Ukraine’s barring the entry to Moscow Mayor Luzhkov, for his statements about the status of Sevastopol.