"I feel in Crimea like at home. Over 100 German tourists have visited Crimea due to my support only. These are the positive results of public diplomacy," Maurer said.
On March 25, German lawmakers and businessmen arrived in Crimea for a week-long visit. The delegation has already visited Sevastopol and Chersonese.
The Crimean peninsula seceded from Ukraine and reunified with Russia after more than 96 percent of local voters supported the move in a referendum in March 2014. Kiev, as well as the European Union, the United States and their allies, did not recognize the move and consider the peninsula to be an occupied territory.
Nevertheless, over 60 delegations from dozens of countries, visited Crimea in 2016, defying Western restrictions, including those from France, Italy, Jordan and many other nations. This trend continues in 2017. In particular, in March, at least two big delegations from the European Union visited Crimea as part of the public diplomacy efforts to restore the political and economic cooperation.