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Russian TV host aspiring to presidency says Crimea’s status is to be discussed

October 25, 2017, 1:29 updated at: October 25, 2017, 21:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The issue of Crimea is far from settled, Ksenia Sobchak believes

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Ksenia Sobchak

Ksenia Sobchak

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. Russian socialite and TV host Ksenia Sobchak, who aspires to running for presidency in the 2018 presidential race, believes that the issue of Crimea’s status is to be a subject of further discussions.

She said it on Wednesday speaking on Andrei Malakhov Live show on Russia-1 channel.

Sobchak produced a big public stir on October 24 when she told a news conference that "Crimea belongs to Ukraine from the point of view of international law". This statement triggered condemnation on the part of a number of politicians, including the founder and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who urged the authorities to institute a criminal case over Sobchak’s claim.

The presidential aspirant, who espouses liberal views, believes that Russia broke the 1994 Budapest memorandum by admitting Crimea’s reunification with it. "We made an arrangement under those accords that Crimea would be Ukrainian, and that’s the main thing for me," she said.

The latter fact is common knowledge, she claimed.

"As all of us know, not a single leading world power has recognized Crimea [as a constituent region of Russia] to date - not even the countries friendly to us, like Belarus," Sobchak said.

She stressed her conviction the issue of Crimea was far from settled. "I don’t think so [that the issue is settled conclusively] because these things are to be discussed and such discussions are really important," Sobchak said.

Following the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev and the ensuring tidal spread of far-right Ukrainian nationalism and militant extremism, the authorities of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol held a referendum on March 16, 2014, on reunification with Russia after sixty years under the sway of Ukraine.

More than 80% of registered voters came to the polls and of that number, 96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in Sevastopol voted in favor of reunification.

On March 18, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on accession of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, and both houses of Russian parliament ratified it on March 21.

In spite of more than convincing results of the referendum, Kiev and its outside supporters, primarily the U.S. and the EU, refuse to recognize the results of voting.

Sobchak also said her team had elaborated a special system for gathering the voters’ signatures.

"If you take the signatures, I have a system and an idea for how they could be gathered at in a thousand points in different regions," she said.

Also, she said a system of rallying supporters and potential signatories in the Internet was already functioning. Overseeing the process was an expert who had worked for election campaigns of independent candidates at the municipal election in Moscow last month.

An individual nominated by an off-parliament party is expected to submit 100,000 voter signatures to the Central Election Commission to get registered as a candidate for the presidential race while a self-nominee is expected to submit 300,000 signatures.

The next presidential election has been scheduled for March 18, 2018. The election race will begin officially in December 2017.

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