MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Crimea should be recognized as a Russian region since it reunited with the country following the free expression of will by its residents at the referendum, Afghan lawmakers told Sputnik.
"The vast majority of Crimean residents are Russians. The rich historic heritage of their lands is inseparably linked with Russia. And at the given historic period, they, along with other Crimean peoples, support Russia. Knowing the will of the people of Crimea, we think that Crimea should be a part of Russia," Davoud Kalkani, a member of the Afghan parliament's international committee, said.
Muhammad Asef Sadiqi, a member of the upper chamber of the Afghan National Assembly, stressed that Russia chose to act diplomatically and accept referendum results, while member of parliament Mirabbat Khan Mangal stated that Crimean independence, which would have been a possibility without Russia's recognition of referendum results, would be politically short-sighted.
"For us, Muslims, Crimea is an important geographic name. The peninsula has for a long time been inhabited by followers of Islam, which at one point became part of multi-confessional Russia and their territory joined Russia. The recent rejoining of Crimea with Russia occurred after the expression of the Crimean peoples' will. As we remember, there was a referendum and the vast majority supported joining Russia. It is evident that Crimea is Russian territory," Haji Abdurrahim, a member the Afghan National Assembly's lower chamber, said.
Russia's historical southern region of Crimea rejoined the country after a 2014 referendum. Almost 97 percent of the region's population voted for reunification in a referendum. Sevastopol, which has a federal city status, supported the move by 95.6 percent of votes.
Then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2014 supported Crimea's secession from Ukraine and rejoining with Russia and stressed that Afghanistan supports the will of the Crimean people. Since then, the Afghan unity government that was formed after the 2014 disputed presidential election has not made any statements on the Crimean issue.