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Frontrunner in Moldova's presidential race recognizes Crimea as part of Russia

Crimea became part of Russia de facto after it was supported by the majority of its residents at the referendum, Igor Dodon said

CHISINAU, October 25. /TASS/. Crimea is part of Russia, Frontrunner of Moldova’s presidential race and leader of the Party of Socialists of Moldova, Igor Dodon, said on Tuesday during televised presidential election debates with his Democratic party rival Marian Lupu.

When asked by the host about Crimea’s affiliation, Dodon said definitely that Crimea is part of Russia not going into details however. His opponent voiced Moldova’s official position. "As a state with an unsettled territorial conflict we cannot afford Crimea’s recognition or recognition of any border changes in any other part of the world," Lupu said.

"Crimea became part of Russia de facto after it was supported by the majority of its residents at the referendum. Ukraine, like many other countries, has not recognized the plebiscite results. We hope this problem will be resolved by peaceful means. Moldova wants to have good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, and with all other its neighbors," Dodon told TASS after the debates.

Key provisions of Dodon’s election program are the settlement of the Transniestrian conflict and resumption of strategic partnership with Russia.

According to the results of the latest public opinion poll conducted by Moldova’s Institute of Public Policy and announced on Monday, as many as 41% of the polled said they would vote for Dodon. His key rivals are Maia Sandu, the leader of the opposition Party of Action and Solidarity, who enjoys support of 14% of the polled and who is said to be backed by the United States, and Marian Lupu, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Moldova, who is supported by 11% of potential voters.

Presidential elections in Moldova will be held on October 30.

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.