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KIEV, June 24. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has forwarded a note of protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry over the visit of a Russian delegation led by President Vladimir Putin to Crimea.
"The Ukrainian side views the above-mentioned visit [on June 24] and other so-called trips of Russian officials to the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol as a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s press service said in a statement circulated on Saturday.
Kiev believes that the Russian president’s visit to Crimea should have been approved by Ukrainian relevant agencies.
"A note of protest has been submitted to the Russian Foreign Ministry," it said.
Earlier on Saturday, Putin alongside Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, his aide Andrei Fursenko and Crimea’s top officials visited the international youth center Artek. Putin was shown around the children’s holiday camps, their infrastructure. Also, he met with children holidaying in Artek - some were from the United States and Donbass - and wished them a strong friendship and new knowledge.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities who took power amid riots during the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.
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. President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaty on March 18, 2014 and three days later, on March 21, the Federal Assembly (both houses of Russia’s parliament) ratified it. Despite convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine has been refusing to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
Trips of Russian officials, along with those of foreign politicians, to Crimea have become regular since 2014. In each separate case, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry launches a protest. Russia has reiterated that Crimea is a Russian territory and the issue is a no discussion subject.