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Russian lawmaker: Food blockade of Crimea is a PR action meant for Ukraine’s domestic uses

September 22, 2015, 19:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the international committee of Russia’s upper parliament house, the Federation Council, believes it looks like an act of final goodbye for an external observer
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© Arkhip Vereschagin/TASS

MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. Ukraine’s food blockade campaign against Russia’s Crimea is meant solely for domestic uses whereas for an external audience it looks like a final goodbye to Crimea, a Russian lawmaker said on Tuesday.

"The blockade of Crimea is a PR action meant solely for the domestic audience. To remind about themselves, the most beloved ones, to demonstrate that at least something is being done in an absolutely hopeless situation," Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the international committee of Russia’s upper parliament house, the Federation Council, wrote on his Facebook account. "But it looks like an act of final goodbye for an external observer."

He noted this campaign made him feel like in "the theater of the absurd." Thus, in his words, the very eagerness of "Crimean Tatar leaders," as they call themselves, to deprive Crimean Tatars of food "is in conflict with common sense." Moreover, a blocked from one side "is like fortress with one wall," he noted. "What kind of result they are after other than the loss of the Crimean market for Ukrainian goods badly needing a market."

On Sunday, September 20, a group of protesters under Ukrainian parliament member Mustafa Dzhemilev, leader of the Crimean Tatars in Ukraine Refat Chubarov launched what they called a food blockade of Crimea to stop the traffic of trucks carrying foods to Crimea through border checkpoints. Later, they were joined by the extremist group Right Sector, which is outlawed in Russia. Official Kiev, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko supported this action saying its ultimate goal was to get Crimea back to Ukraine’s jurisdiction.

Crimea’s governor, Sergey Aksyonov, said earlier Ukraine’s blockade was nothing but a comedy film, since Ukrainian goods accounted for no more than five percent of all products on offer. If their supply from Ukraine ends, it will take two weeks to replace them, he said.

"At the moment 95% of the foods on offer are of Russian manufacture. If the trend persists, there will be not a single Ukrainian item on sale in two weeks from now," Aksyonov said on the Rossiya-24 round-the-clock news channel.

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