SEVASTOPOL, August 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised American boxer Roy Jones Jr. Russian citizenship should he decide to live in Russia for a long time.
"I am very much glad to get acquainted with you. I am fond of sports and martial arts, including boxing, of course," Putin said at the beginning of the meeting.
Jones told the Russian leader he had wanted to go for judo in childhood.
"But you achieved a lot in boxing… You were the world champion in middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight. There are probably no more such athletes in the world," Putin said.
Asked by Jones when he had started going in for sports and why he had chosen judo, the Russian president said: "I was 14. I liked wrestling, and I took up our domestic sport - sambo, and then I switched over to judo."
Putin noted Jones’ achievements in other spheres as well, including music and cinema. He expressed the hope that the US boxer will achieve success in business in Russia as well. Jones told Putin that it would be easier for him to travel to Russia and back if he had a Russian passport. The boxer said people in Russia like sports and that’s why he likes the country.
In response, the Russian leader said Roy is popular in Russia and added: "If you plan to connect a considerable part of your life with activity in Russia, then of course we will be glad, and we will with pleasure grant your request regarding Russian citizenship." Putin wished Jones success in his activity in Russia.
Asked what his attitude was toward the position of the US authorities, who do not recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Jones’ promoter in Russia Vladimir Khryunov said: "Jones had no questions about traveling here, though there were people who wrote to him: ‘Where are you going?’ He answered he was going where he felt good and where he was loved."
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.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.