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BRUSSELS, December 15. /TASS/. The European Union will never recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said Monday after the first meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council.
The problem of Crimea was discussed at the meeting. The EU confirmed that it will never recognize Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation, Mogherini said.
Also she said, that the European Union’s new restrictions regarding Crimea have been agreed and should take effect before the EU summit due December 18-19.
The introduction of the new sanctions will demand additional technical work, but the EU adheres to its aim to put them into effect via written procedure before the EU summit, Mogherini said.
The talk is about restrictions for European businesses on investment in Crimea’s economy and participation in the tourist business on the peninsula.
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March after a coup rocked Ukraine in February.
The West announced new, sectoral, restrictions against Russia in late July, in particular, for what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests in Ukraine’s southeast.
In response, Russia imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.
Russia has constantly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine.
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. They held a referendum on March 16, in which 96.77 percent of Crimeans and 95.6 percent of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.