SIMFEROPOL, February 5. /TASS/. A delegation of German regional lawmakers has dispelled the myth about sanctions leading to a lack of food in Crimea, Chairman of the region’s National and Cultural Autonomy of Germans Yuri Gempel told TASS on Monday.
According to earlier reports, a delegation comprising regional parliament members of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin and Baden-Wurttemberg states arrived in Crimea. While in Crimea, the delegation members, who represent the Alternative for Germany (Alternative fur Deutschland, AfD, the third largest party in the Bundestag), plan to discuss the removal of Western sanctions and the possibility of recognizing the peninsula as part of Russia.
"Some questions that they had asked while still in Germany no longer required answers [after their arrival in Crimea]. For instance, they wanted to know what food products we lacked because of sanctions. After spending two days here, they came to understand that it was not the right question to ask," said Gempel, who is also the Crimean State Council’s Deputy Chairman for Interethnic Relations.
According to him, the German regional lawmakers also wanted to discuss the possibility for Bundestag members representing the AfD party to make an official visit to the Crimean Peninsula.
Gemple added that the delegation members "have the most positive impressions" about the Peninsula. On Sunday, they visited the famous sights located on Crimea’s southern coast, including the Livadia Palace, the Swallow’s Nest castle and the Nikitsky Botanical Garden. On Monday, the delegation is planned to visit the Artek international children center. "The Germans very much wanted to see Artek and learn about its activities, they also asked if German kids could come here," Gempel said.
The delegation members also intend to visit the city of Sevastopol and hold a number of meetings with the regional authorities. Their visit will conclude on February 9.
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests began in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence.
On March 16, 2014, a referendum on reuniting with Russia was conducted. Over 80% of voters participated in the plebiscite, most of them supporting the idea (96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol).
On March 18, the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia was signed by President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21.
Ukraine, the United States and the European Union refused to recognize Crimea’s independence and its reunification with Russia.