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Italian politicians planning to visit Crimea claim receiving threats from Ukraine

The officials received letters from the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in Italy saying theywere violating Ukraine’s Criminal Code
Crimea, Balaklava bay Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Crimea, Balaklava bay
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

ROME, October 11. /TASS/. A number of Italian politicians who plan to pay a visit to Russia’s Crimea have received letters with threats from the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in Italy, Luciano Sandona of Italy’s Veneto region council, a member of the Italian delegation, told TASS on Tuesday.

"The letter was channeled to the governors. It said that our councilors are violating Ukraine’s Criminal Code with all the consequences that come with it. It is a real threat. It is inadmissible that a third country interferes into political activities of representatives of other state," he said.

In his words, the visit which includes a stopover in Crimea, is to take place from October 13 through 16. "Along with councilors of regional councils of Veneto, Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna and Toscana, the delegation includes leading businessmen," Sandona said, adding that while in Crimea the delegation plans to meet with the Crimean authorities and representatives of the republic’s business community. It is expected that the mayor of Italy’s Padua will sign a sister city agreement with Crimea’s capital city Simferopol.

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, 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. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Ukraine has been refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.

Veneto was the first Italian region to adopt a resolution in May 2016 recognizing Crimea as part of Russia and calling to abandon the anti-Russian sanctions. The resolution was initiated by the opposition part Lega Nord, or the Northern League, which controls the majority of seats in the Veneto and Lombardy councils. Later, such resolutions were adopted in Lombardy and Liguria, and in Toscana and Piedmont in a softened wording.