ROME, January 22. /TASS/. Italian operatic tenor Alessandro Safina has cancelled his shows in Crimea.
Safina said on his official website today that he regrets he had to make this decision. He explained that after learning about restrictions imposed by Kiev on people visiting Crimea he decided to postpone shows in Crimea until "the conflict situation is resolved."
Safina’s shows were scheduled for February 21-22 in Sevastopol and Simferopol. His tour will also include five concerts in Ukraine.
On January 18 Ukraine banned Safina from giving performances in the country over his scheduled concerts in Crimea.
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. In mid-March last year, Crimea re-joined Russia following a referendum. More than 82% of the electorate took part in the vote. Over 96% backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favor of reuniting with Russia.
Results of the referendum were celebrated by many Crimeans but the vote was widely criticized by Western leaders and at the United Nations. In the Soviet Union, Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimean region, along with Sevastopol, to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.