13:56 GMT01 June 2020
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    Andreas Maurer, a German lawmaker who arrived in Russia's Crimea with a delegation of businessmen and politicians, has outlined his views on the economic development of the region and the idea that Russia should pay Ukraine compensation for reuniting with the peninsula, in an interview with Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Crimea's reunification with Russia was based on the decision of its residents, so Ukraine should not receive any compensation for the territory that seceded after a referendum, Maurer told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "Compensation is out of the question. The topic should be closed once and forever," Maurer, who has been on a week-long visit to a peninsula, said.

    Maurer's comment comes in response to Czech President Milos Zeman's suggestion that Moscow could compensate Kiev with either currency or energy resources for the loss of the peninsula.

    Zaur Smirnov, the head of Crimean Government’s Committee for Ethnic Relations, told Sputnik on Tuesday that the "Crimean issue" was closed when asked about Zeman's proposal.

    Economic Potential of Crimea

    Maurer has traveled to Crimea as part of a delegation that includes another German lawmaker and 11 Norwegian politicians and businessmen. The visit ends on Thursday, October 12.

    ​The lawmaker underlined that he and the businessmen in the delegation see "big potential" in the development of tourism, healthcare, construction of roads and huge infrastructure projects in Crimea.

    "I see many opportunities for German business, both large and small. I am sure companies in Germany are suffering big losses and to miss out on the Crimean market in the future would be a big mistake," Maurer, who is also the chairman of the Left Party faction in the City Council of Quakenbruck, added.

    Andrei Melnikov, Crimea's minister for economic development, told Sputnik in early October that the authorities were planning to open an investors' club to attract investment from Russia and abroad.

    The Crimean peninsula seceded from Ukraine and reunified with Russia after 97 percent of local voters supported the move in a referendum in March 2014. Ukraine, 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, delegations from dozens of countries, including France, Italy, Germany, and Jordan, have visited Crimea since then, defying Western restrictions.

    In late September, Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Georgy Muradov said that over 100 foreign delegations alongside prominent political and public persons have visited Crimea over the past year and a half.


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    reunification, referendum, economic, projects, Milos Zeman, Crimea, Russia
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