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Italy ready to discuss status of Crimea - Deputy PM Salvini

Matteo Salvini is a leader of the Lega Nord party, which was the first to recognize the results of the referendum in Crimea

ROME, June 8. /TASS/. Italy’s new government will be discussing any issue, including the status of Crimea, Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told reporters on Thursday.

"It is an issue of the foreign minister. We will be discussing everything," Salvini said when asked by TASS whether Crimea might be recognized as part of Russia.

Salvini is a leader of the Lega Nord party that formed a coalition government with the Five Star Movement. In October 2014, he visited Crimea in the capacity of the party leader and a member of the European Parliament (MEP). The European delegation was then the first to pay a visit to the Black Sea peninsula after the referendum on reunification with Russia.

Lega Nord was the first to recognize the results of the referendum.

Reunification with Russia

On 16 March 2014, more than 82% of Crimea’s electorate took part in the referendum, when 96.77% in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% in the Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favor of reuniting with Russia. On March 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Russia’s Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21.

Ukraine refused to recognize the referendum was legitimate. In July 2014, the European Union and the US imposed sanctions against Crimea and Russia and have repeatedly extended and expanded them.