"Let me first of all note your courage. We understand how important the work of civil initiatives is in our environment specifically. I hope that through communication with us you will see that Crimean people are united regardless of religion and nationality, and are building new Crimea," Bakharev said.
Tennison in turn thanked the authorities of Simferopol for a warm welcome and expressed the delegation's desire to use all the opportunities to tell what exactly was going on in Crimea.
Crimea seceded from Ukraine to rejoin Russia in March 2014 following a referendum in which over 96 percent of voters supported the move. The West labeled the vote an illegal "annexation." Moscow has stated that the referendum fully complied with international law.