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German lawmakers arrive in Crimea to discuss lifting of sanctions

February 03, 23:22 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

The German delegation’s visit is expected to last until February 9

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SIMFEROPOL, February 3. /TASS/. A delegation from Germany’s three states - North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin and Baden-W·rttemberg - arrived in Crimea’s capital of Simferopol on Saturday, Chair of Germans’ regional national and cultural autonomy Yuri Gempel told TASS.

The German lawmakers plan to discuss the lifting of Western sanctions and recognition of the Black Sea peninsula as part of Russia, he added.

"They are deputies from Germany’s regional parliaments from the Alternative for Germany party (Alternative fur Deutschland, the third-largest party in Bundestag]. Ten people have come. It is the first serious delegation [from Germany] that have ever come to visit us," said Gempel, who is also Crimea’s parliament deputy speaker in charge of inter-ethnic relations.

The German delegation’s visit is expected to last until February 9. It involves trips around the peninsula and talks with residents and authorities.

"One of the issues, they are ready to discuss, is that anti-Russia sanctions should be lifted, Crimea should be recognized as part of Russia, that partnership relations should be created between the Republic of Crimea and Germany and that ties should be restored," he added.

Besides, the lawmakers are due to visit a terminal of Simferopol airport, children’s holiday camp Artek and some landmarks.

Crimea, where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

On 16 March 2014, more than 82% of Crimea’s electorate took part in the referendum, when 96.77% in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% in the Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favor of reuniting with Russia. On March 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Russia’s Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21.

Ukraine refused to recognize the referendum was legitimate. In July 2014, the European Union and the US imposed sanctions against Crimea and Russia and have repeatedly extended and expanded them.

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