18:55 GMT23 April 2021
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    SIMFEROPOL (Sputnik) - Hendrik Weber, head of a Norwegian delegation that is currently on a six-day visit to Crimea, told Sputnik on Wednesday that the country's mission considers Crimea a legitimate part of Russia.

    The visit of the Norwegian delegation, comprising public figures, representatives of academia and entrepreneurs, to the peninsula began on Sunday and will last through Saturday. The visit's agenda includes numerous meetings and trips around the peninsula.

    "[Our] position is clear and explicit. We consider Crimea a legitimate part of the Russian Federation," Weber stated.

    He added, at the same time, that the Norwegian authorities maintained the position doubting the legitimacy of the referendum on Crimea's rejoining Russia.

    "But the situation is changing. Now many politicians, we believe, do realize what actually happened in 2014," Weber said.

    READ MORE: WATCH First Trucks Drive Over Crimea Bridge

    Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014, when 97 percent of the peninsula's residents voted in favor of the move in a referendum. Despite this, the reunification was not recognized by the majority of Western countries, including EU member states, which subsequently imposed economic and political sanctions on Moscow.

    Russian authorities have repeatedly stated that Crimea's residents decided to rejoin Russia following a democratic procedure. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the issue of Crimea's territorial sovereignty was "historically closed."


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