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MOSCOW, March 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Europe should recognize Crimea’s secession from Ukraine like it once recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, Pino Arlacchi, a member of the European Parliament, said in an interview with Itar-Tass.
“We supported Kosovo’s secession from Serbia even when there were troops in Kosovo. And they are still there. Ten thousand NATO troops are currently based in Kosovo. Saying that the Crimean referendum was invalid because there were Russian troops in Crimea is ridiculous,” Arlacchi said.
In his opinion, the European Union should accept that Crimea belongs to Russia because that was a decision by an overwhelming majority of Crimeans.
“We cannot recognize self-determination when we like it or do not like it. This would contradict the basic principles of democracy,” the MEP said.
The Republic of Crimea, where most residents are Russians, held a referendum on March 16, in which some 97% of its population decided for Crimea to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Crimea subsequently signed a treaty on its reunification with the Russian Federation on March 18. Russia’s upper house of parliament ratified it on March 21.
The developments came amid political turmoil in Ukraine, where a coup occurred in February following months of anti-government protests that often turned violent.
Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials repeatedly stating that the Crimean referendum was in full conformity with the international law and the UN Charter, and also in line with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, Ukraine’s self-proclaimed new authorities and the West have cried foul over the plebiscite claiming it was illegal, and have refused to recognize Crimea part of Russia.