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SIMFEROPOL, July 5. /TASS/. European observers can but don’t want to go to Crimea to see for themselves that Crimean Tatars are living "peacefully and calmly" and no one infringes upon their rights, Crimea’s Deputy Prime Minister Ruslan Balbek told TASS on Tuesday.
"Crimea’s authorities in no way are hindering the work of monitors [from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE - TASS] and offer all the possibilities to speak with whomever they want so that foreign missions could see it with their own eyes how peacefully and calmly the ‘suppressed and persecuted’ Crimean Tatars are living," he said, adding that European monitors seem to think that they can learn "real truth" from Ukrainian officials and mass media.
Balbek’s words came in comment to a document on the situation in Crimea passed at the latest OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Tbilisi.
Russian lawmaker Nikolai Kovalyov, who leads the Russian delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, said earlier that the document was initiated by the Ukrainian delegation as an extra item on the session’s agenda. The document, in his words, speaks about "violations of human rights and basic freedoms in Crimea, violations of rights of the Crimean Tatars, etc." He said that the Russian delegation refused to discuss this document as "absolutely non-objective, biased and having open anti-Russian character."
"Foreign observers seem to prefer to monitor the situation in Crimea from the windows of Pyotr Poroshenko’s administration," the Crimean deputy prime minister said.
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 the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine has been refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.