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Ukraine’s parliament up in arms over Italian lawmakers’ Crimea visit

October 14, 2016, 18:08 UTC+3 KIEV

A delegation of 19 lawmakers and businessmen from Italy arrived in Crimea’s capital of Simferopol on Friday for a two-day visit

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Italian lawmakers in Crimea

Italian lawmakers in Crimea

© Alexei Pavlishak/TASS

KIEV, October 14. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) members have called for "a strong condemnation" of the Italian lawmakers and businessmen who arrived in Crimea on Friday.

"By visiting Crimea without Ukraine’s consent they are violating our national legislation and international agreements," head of the Rada Committee for International Affairs Anna Gopko said. In her opinion, the Crimean visit by the Italian politicians and businessmen is "a severe violation of Ukraine’s national legislation that should be punished." Gopko noted that the Ukrainian authorities held an unequivocal position on such visits. "Ukraine’s position is tough, such lawmakers should be strongly condemned as they attempt to claim that Crimea belongs to Russia," she stated.

Head of the Rada Committee on International Security and Defense Ivan Vinnik, in turn, urged the Ukrainian foreign ministry to request the Friendship Group in the US Congress to assist in imposing sanctions against the Italian lawmakers.

A delegation of 19 lawmakers and businessmen from Italy arrived in Crimea’s capital of Simferopol on Friday for a two-day visit. The delegation comprises representatives of five of Italy’s regions (Veneto, Liguria, Lombardia, Toscana, Emilia Romagna). Their assemblies have adopted resolutions calling for recognizing Crimea as part of Russia and cancelling sanctions against Moscow. The members of the Italian delegation were received by Crimea’s head Sergey Aksyonov and the State Council Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov. On Friday, a member of the Executive Committee of the Italian city of Padua Marina Bufoni and head of the Simferopol City Council Viktor Ageyev signed a memorandum on Simferopol and Padua becoming sister cities.

On March 16, 2014, the authorities of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol held a referendum on joining Russia. More than 80% of the voters took part in the referendum, the respective number of those who voted in favor of reuniting with Russia in Crimea and Sevastopol being 96.7% and 95.6%. On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement on including the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol into the Russian Federation, on March 21 the agreement was ratified by the Federal Assembly (Russian parliament). Despite the convincing outcome of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

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