02:03 GMT06 August 2020
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    Ilkka Kanerva said that he may visit Crimea upon the invitation of the Russian State Duma speaker.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The president of the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe, Ilkka Kanerva, may take up the invitation of Russian lower house speaker Sergei Naryshkin to visit Crimea if his schedule allows.

    Earlier in the day, Naryshkin invited Kanerva to visit Crimea "to talk to people in the streets" and personally assess the situation in the peninsula.

    "I haven't considered that up until now because there are many questions about my schedule," Kanerva told Sputnik.

    He said that investigating existing problems in Crimea was of merit and would consider visiting.

    "But of course, I recognize some specific problems in Crimea and they are also in the interest of the OSCE. If I have time, why not? I am considering [to go there]," Kanerva added.

    Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in a March 2014 referendum, with over 96 percent of voters backing the move. Kiev and the West, however, denounced the referendum as illegal and accused Russia of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs.

    Moscow maintains that the vote was held in accordance with international laws.


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