02:40 GMT +319 September 2018
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    A rolled-up political map of Europe. Such maps showing Crimea as part of the Russian Federation are now on sale in Simferopol

    US Delegation Arrives in Crimea for 3-Day Fact-Finding Visit

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    The Center for Citizens Initiatives, a civic organization aimed at reducing tensions between nuclear superpowers, had previously sent a delegation to the Russian region in 2016.

    Valentin Kozubsky, one of the event's organizers, confirmed Wednesday that members of the US citizen diplomacy organization had arrived in Crimea.

    "A delegation of four from the United States arrived in Crimea. The official component of their visit will start September 6. They've come here out of a desire to see the real situation on the peninsula, and to bring the truth about the lives of Crimeans back to their home country," Kozubsky told Sputnik.

    Set to kick off with a tour of a Simferopol orphanage, the visit will include a meeting with representatives of Crimea's Parliament, and an excursion program, which will see the delegation visiting Yalta and Sevastopol. The visit, organized from the American side by the Center for Citizens Initiatives, will wrap up on September 9.

    Crimea broke off from Ukraine and rejoined Russia in the tumultuous spring of 2014, after a coup d'état in Kiev overthrew Ukraine's elected government. Crimean authorities organized a snap referendum, in which over 96 percent of the peninsula's predominantly ethnic-Russian residents voted to rejoin Russia, just over 60 years after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred the territory to the Ukrainian SSR in February 1954.

    In July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the State Department continued to see Crimea's reunification with Russia as an "annexation," adding that he would never recognize Crimea's status as part of Russia.

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    fact-finding visit, tour, visit, Crimea, United States, Russia
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