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    Italian Deputy PM Disagrees With Journalist Calling Crimea Referendum 'Fake'

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said in an interview with The Washington Post that he did not agree with a newspaper's journalist statement, claiming that the referendum on the independence of Crimea was "fake" and stressed that the vast majority of the peninsula's population had voted to rejoin Russia.

    "[That is your] point of view… There was a referendum, and 90 percent of the people voted for the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation," Salvini said, when the reporter suggested to him that the referendum was "fake."

    READ MORE: Russian Embassy in US Asks CIA to Update Map of Russia Adding Crimea

    According to the transcript of the interview, published on Thursday, the Italian politician says that "some historically Russian zones with Russian culture and traditions" exist that "legitimately belong to the Russian Federation."

    Salvini mentioned "fake revolution in Ukraine, which was a pseudo-revolution funded by foreign powers," referring to the events of 2014 that resulted in a new government coming to power in Kiev.

    The Italian deputy prime minister added that he was in favor of lifting sanctions off Russia, as they "didn’t prove to be useful" and were detrimental to Italian exports.

    Kiev does not recognize the results of the referendum that was held in Crimea in March 2014. A number of countries have introduced sanctions against Russia and Crimea over the reunification. Russian officials have repeatedly stressed that the vote took place in accordance with the international legal framework.

    Related:

    EU Extends Sanctions Against Crimea Another 12 Months
    White House Says US, Russia ‘Agree to Disagree’ on Crimea, For Now
    Russian Embassy in US Asks CIA to Update Map of Russia Adding Crimea
    Tags:
    referendum, Matteo Salvini, Italy, Crimea, Russia
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