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SEVASTOPOL, July 8 /TASS/. The creation of a unified NATO fleet in the Black Sea may upset the regional stability and force Russia to react adequately, Sergei Menyailo, the governor of Sevastopol, said replying to a question posed by a British correspondent.
A delegation of foreign journalists is visiting Crimea at the invitation of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"The Black Sea states have been trying to resolve the tasks of ensuring security in the Black Sea for more than one year. I do not see the reason for creating any new structures. If anybody has such thoughts, I think that Russia’s reaction is going to be adequate," the governor of Sevastopol stressed.
"Stability in the Black Sea region is based on the existing agreements. It had existed before Crimea’s reunification with Russia. It simply should not be violated," Menyailo said. He added that joint naval operations by the Black Sea states such as the Blackseafor and the Operation Black Sea Harmony [OBSH] was a good example of joint efforts to ensure security in the Black Sea.
Talking about western sanctions against Russia, Menyailo said they were likely to remain in force even if Russia agreed to hold another referendum on Crimea and invited international observers to monitor the vote.
"Why should we hold a second referendum? What goal are we going to pursue? We could do that if everybody is going to recognize [Crimea-TASS] after that. But there is no guarantee that no one will start criticizing us again for doing everything wrong. Crimea and Sevastopol were just a pretext for the imposition of sanctions. The aim was to punish Russia for its disobedience. We are unlikely to prove anything to anybody even if ten referendums are held," Menyailo told the foreign journalists.
The governor does not think that Russia should justify the need to lift the sanctions in any way. "Why should we prove the need of lifting the sanctions to anybody? No one plays into one gates in football. Do not tell us by what rules we should live," Menyailo said.
Crimea and Sevastopol became parts of Russia on March 18, 2014 after the March 16 referendum on the Crimea status in which 96.77% of Crimean inhabitants had voted for reunification with Russia.