8 Feb 2018 18:44

Alternative for Germany MPs see no 'Russian occupation' in Crimea

SIMFEROPOL. Feb 8 (Interfax) - The Crimean Peninsula is a territory of Russia, members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said during their visit to Crimea.

"The German side has obtained yesterday a protest note from the Ukrainian government that we are staying today here and are in talks with 'the Crimean temporarily occupied government.' I want to issue a statement: we do not see any Russian occupation here. I met with a lot of people, who want to be with Russia, and it is not temporarily, it is permanently," MP from the North Rhine-Westphalia federal state Roger Beckamp said at a press conference in Simferopol on Thursday.

"I am sure that it [Crimea] belongs to Russia," MP of the Berlin parliament Harald Laatsch said.

The delegation of nine people representing the Berlin, Brandenburg and Rhine-Westphalia Lands arrived to Crimea on February 3 and will stay on the peninsula until February 9. The German government has distanced itself from the visit of AfD MPs.

The Germans specifically met with members of Crimean parliament, national cultural associations in the region, visited a Simferopol airport terminal under construction, Sevastopol and one of the agricultural enterprises.

AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland in German) has created the third largest parliamentary faction following the Bundestag election in September 2017.

Crimea joined Russia in March 2014 following the regional referendum on the peninsula status. Ukraine does not recognize its results and deems Crimea as "its temporarily occupied territory." The EU countries and the United States view Russia's steps as "annexation" and imposed sanctions against a number of Russian companies, businessmen and politicians.