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Israeli lawmakers visit Crimea

February 11, 9:55 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
Abkhazia and Nicaragua are so far the only countries that have officially recognized Crimea to be part of Russia
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A view of Crimea's Sevastopol

A view of Crimea's Sevastopol

© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, February 10 /TASS/. Israel’s parliamentary delegation has visited Crimea.

It is led by Yaakov Margi, the head of the Knesset Committee for Education, Culture and Sports, the press service of Crimea’s Head Sergey Aksyonov reported on Wednesday.

Contacts between the Crimean authorities and the Israeli legislators, the press service quoted Aksyonov as saying, are likely to help Israeli citizens and state power bodies to form an objective opinion about contemporary processes and events in Crimea.

"The Jewish community along with other ethnic communities existing in the republic is actively involved in everything what is happening in the territory of Crimea and renders assistance in a number of issues, including the notification of the population about problems facing the Crimean inhabitants," Aksyonov, who hopes that people like Mr Margi will break the information blockade sooner or later, said.

"Despite a widespread opinion that it is unsafe to be in Crimea, [Margi-TASS] became convinced in the opposite. He saw everything with his own eyes. I have no doubt that the people of Israel will learn the truth: Crimea returned to Russia on its own free will expressed by the people of Crimea," the republic’s head added.

"I have seen the life of the [Jewish] community and that tells you the truth about Crimea. I can see calm people who go to shops and ride in public transport though I used to have a totally different picture. Jews live in many countries, and bad attitude to Jews is growing in many of them. But I feel very comfortable in Crimea," Margi said.

Crimea's recogntion as part of Russia

A referendum on Crimea’s self-determination took place on the peninsula on March 16, 2014: 96.77% of voters in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol voted for reunification with Russia. Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have refused to recognize Crimea’s independence and its reunification with Russia.

Abkhazia and Nicaragua are the only countries that have officially recognized Crimea to be part of Russia, so far. The president of Belarus has de facto supported the Crimean population’s choice.

More than a dozen foreign delegations have paid informal visits to Crimea over the past 18 months. A group of French deputies led by Thierry Mariani broke the political blockade of Crimea in the summer of 2015.

Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid a private visit to Crimea at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 11, 2015. After that, Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s Lega Nord (North League) party, confirmed his intention to visit the peninsula for a second time.

Kimura Mitsuhiro, the leader of the Japanese socio-political organization Issuikai, has visited Crimea four times since the peninsula’s reunification with Russia. He suggested creating a cultural center in Japan to give the Japanese a chance to learn more about Crimea and its people. A similar center will be set up in Crimea with an aim to acquaint its people with Japanese culture.

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