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SIMFEROPOL, May 18. /TASS/. Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov said he welcomes the resolution on Crimea, adopted by the regional council of the Italian region of Veneto, and considers it a breakthrough in the fight against anti-Russian propaganda.
"I hail the decision of the parliament of the Italian region of Veneto and thank for support - the adoption of the resolution calling on the national government to condemn the European Union’s policy regarding Crimea and push for cancelation of anti-Russian sanctions," Aksyonov wrote on Facebook.
"I am happy with that breakthrough and believe it’s only the beginning. I am convinced all senators who have been to the Republic of Crimea over the past year will have a similar position," he said.
Aksyonov recalled that over the past two years, the peninsula has been visited by delegations from several European countries, including Italy and France.
"We welcome all honest diplomats and officials of Western countries, we will be glad to see them in the Republic of Crimea. Seeing the truth with their own eyes, they will bring it to voters and their citizens," he said.
Earlier Wednesday, the regional council of Veneto approved by a majority of votes a resolution calling on the national government of Italy to recognize the status of Crimea and push for cancelation of sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.
Later, the head of the EU mission in Moscow, Vygaudas Usackas, called not to overestimate the significance of the resolution, saying it was of a recommendatory nature. He said that on Vesti FM radio.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.