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Kiev issues note of protest over Russian defense minister's trip to Crimea

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has expressed protest and referred a note to the Russian Foreign Ministry over a recent working trip to Crimea by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

"The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expresses protest over Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Shoigu's stay on Jun 16 in Ukraine's sovereign territory in its internationally recognized borders, which includes the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, that was not agreed with the Ukrainian side," the press service of the Ukrainian foreign ministry said on Friday.

"Shoigu's stay in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is a flagrant infringement on Ukraine's state sovereignty by the Russian authorities," the ministry said, adding that a note of protest was referred to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu made a working trip to Crimea on June 16.

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.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 17Jun16]

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