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SEVASTOPOL, July 9. /TASS/. Representatives from international organizations and European experts would be better off visiting Crimea to see the real situation themselves rather than citing made-up reasons to explain why they don’t do it, Dmitry Belik, a member of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house representing Sevastopol and Crimea, told TASS on Sunday commenting on the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s draft resolution on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
The Resolution 'Restoration of Sovereignty And Territorial Integrity of Ukraine' was adopted on Sunday and urges Russia to grant unimpeded access to Crimea and Sevastopol for representatives of international organizations, institutions and independent experts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations and the Council of Europe, human rights non-government organizations and the mass media.
"It’s high time representatives of international organizations and institutions, as well as European experts stop saying that something hinders their coming to Crimea. Instead, they’d better do it. They will find no obstacles on their path, that’s obvious. But, regrettably, the West prefers to manipulate the allegation that somebody is barred from visiting Crimea instead of explaining its propaganda later that people living in the allegedly ‘occupied’ Crimea are happy to be part of great Russia. So, any talk about European representatives’ visit to Crimea will stay only in the OSCE resolution," the Russian lawmaker said, adding jokingly that the only obstacle for OSCE, UN and Council of Europe representatives might be problems with buying plane tickets as too many people want to spend the summer in Crimea.
Another lawmaker, former Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimean government, Ruslan Balbek, shared this point of view, saying there are no obstacles for OSCE officials coming to Crimea. "Bare-faced lies and pointless blathering are unbecoming for such world organization as the OSCE. No one bans them to visit Crimea, with due respect to Russian laws. But we will not let them dictate Ukraine’s terms to us," he told TASS.
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.