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    Ukraine Launches Criminal Cases Against German Lawmakers for Visiting Crimea

    © Sputnik / Vasiliy Batanov
    Europe
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    2016

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Ukrainian diplomatic mission in Berlin has initiated criminal proceedings against several German lawmakers over the visits they made to Crimea without Kiev's consent, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk said on Tuesday.

    "The embassy initiated criminal proceedings against several German lawmakers. There is an article of the criminal code on illegal visits to occupied territories. It provides for a prison sentence of up to eight years. And the fact that you are a lawmaker does not absolve you from accountability," the ambassador told Ukraine's news outlet Evropeiska Pravda.

    READ MORE: Ferries May Connect Crimea and Turkey by Fall — Company

    According to Melnyk, the likelihood of the lawmakers receiving any punishment in Ukraine are limited.

    "Germany does not extradite its citizens, and the German criminal code does not have a similar offense," the ambassador added.

    The diplomat noted that embassy was working to introduce administrative responsibility in Germany for trips to Crimea without Kiev's consent, primarily for politicians.

    Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014 after 97 percent of the peninsula's residents voted in favor of the move in a referendum. The reunification was not recognized by Ukraine or Western states, which subsequently imposed economic and political sanctions on Moscow. Russia has repeatedly stated that the referendum was conducted in compliance with international law.

    Despite the sanctions, a number of delegations from dozens of countries, including Germany, France and Italy, have visited Crimea. German business and political delegations have made repeated visits, one of which was in February by lawmakers from the right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD). More recently in August, a German delegation of politicians and businesspeople visited the peninsula to assess investment potential.

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    lawmakers, Germany, Crimea, Ukraine
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