Delegation of Slovakian legislators visits Crimea despite opposition to Russian occupation

Delegation of Slovakian legislators visits Crimea despite opposition to Russian occupation

Today, a delegation of Slovak legislators will begin a four-day visit to Russian-occupied Crimea. Russia annexed the Ukrainian province in

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Photo: Reuters

Today, a delegation of Slovak legislators will begin a four-day visit to Russian-occupied Crimea.

Russia annexed the Ukrainian province in March 2014. Shortly following the move, an illegal referendum was held in which nearly 97% of Crimea allegedly decided in favour of accession.

So far, only 10 states officially recognise Crimea as Russian territory: Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Sudan and Zimbabwe. In a 2016 UN General Assembly resolution, 26 countries voted against condemning the annexation and reaffirming Ukrainian sovereignty in Crimea, including India, China, Iran and South Africa.

Slovakia, generally friendly with both the West and Moscow, does not recognise Crimea as Russian territory; indeed, Slovakia voted for the aforementioned UN resolution. Despite today’s visit, this stance is unlikely to change.

The Slovakian government has advised the lawmakers—comprised of a mix of independent MPs and deputies from the governing coalition—against visiting the peninsula for what they claim is only a check-in on the state of democracy in Ukraine. Their controversial move, which will may garner more criticism of the Ukrainian government than Russia for the occupation, could reflect a resurgence of pro-Russian sentiments from a growing group of fringe lawmakers in Eastern Europe.

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