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President Putin Visits Crimea To Mark Fifth Anniversary of Reunification with Russia

March 18, 2018 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Crimea on March 18 to participate in the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the region’s unification with the Russian Federation, reported TASS. He attended events in Sevastopol and Simferopol. Putin attended the start of the full operation of the Balaklavskaya and Tavricheskaya thermal power plants (TPP) in Crimea along with other officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov, and chief executive of the Rostec state corporation Sergei Chemezov. The total capacity of two power plants is now 940 MW, amounting to some 90% of region’s consumption.

Since unification, the Russian government has spent 877.8 billion rubles ($13.5 billion) for the construction of energy and water supply facilities, and for development of transport infrastructure.

Putin also met with President of the French-Russian Dialogue Association Thierry Mariani, who headed a delegation of French politicians in Crimea attending the celebrations. Mariani first visited Crimea to celebrate its reunification with Russia five years ago, when he was a National Assembly Deputy. President Putin told Mariani that Russia was prepared to lift its counter-sanctions if Europe lifted its sanction against Russia.

“My answer will not make our Russian agricultural producers happy, but I have to tell you that if European sanctions are lifted, then we will definitely have to abolish tit-for-tat measures on our part, because there will be no original causes for their introduction,” Putin said. “These abnormal economic relations, distorted because of political considerations or spoiled with use of political instruments, such as unfair competition, eventually bring damages to everyone.”

TASS further reports that Chinese businesses are also interested in involving Crimea in the Belt and Road Initiative, head of the association of Chinese compatriots on the peninsula Ge Zhili reported today.

“Our organization is bolstering cooperation ties, exchanges, and friendly contacts with all the layers of the Crimean society,” he said at the event in Beijing, held at the Russian Embassy, dedicated to the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s reintegration into Russia. “To help people understand what Crimea is, start cooperation with it, establish reliable relations with the peninsula, develop friendly contacts with it and implement joint private projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.”

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