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German politician admits Crimea being part of Russia is fact of life
Crimea's status of a Russian territory is fait accompli, the leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party, Martin Schulz, told the daily Bild in an interview.
"The way I see the situation, Russians have turned it into an accomplished fact and they will insist on it," he said.
Schulz, who will contest the federal chancellor's post in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, said that Crimea's reunification with Russia was a "serious violation of international law."
He is uncertain for how long Crimea may remain part of Russia. At the same time he remarked that it would be hardly possible to take the peninsula away from Russia by force.
"I believe that might happen only through negotiations," he said.
In its dialogue with Russia Germany should speak in a straightforward manner, Schulz believes.
"On the one hand, we must put forward proposals, but they will make sense only if Russia is prepared to accept them," he said. On the other hand, he warned that "an arms race, the way [US President Donald] Trump and possibly Putin would like to have it should be avoided by all means."
After the government coup in Kiev in February 2014 the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol on March 16 held referendums on the issue of reunification with Russia. The proposal was supported by 96.7% and 95.6% of those who cast their ballots respectively. On March 18 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on the admission of Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia. The treaty was ratified by the Federal Assembly on March 21. The Russian authorities later said more than once that they were not going to discuss the theme of Crimea's return to Ukraine with foreign partners.
[Source: Itar Tass, Berlin, 01Sep17]
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