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MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has invited Swedish politicians and journalists to visit Crimea to see for themselves what is the situation in that republic.
"In view of the question Mrs. Minister asked about the situation in Crimea, we invited our Swedish colleagues, politicians, journalists and experts, at the official and unofficial levels, to visit that constituent region of Russia to see for themselves how things really are there," Lavrov said on Tuesday after talks with his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom.
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, the United States and the European Union have been refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.