Eighteen Italian MPs and businessmen, who have arrived in Crimea, are due to sign Friday a deal with the local authorities on establishing sister city ties between Simferopol and Padua, a representative of a foundation that organized the trip told TASS.
The main program of the Italian delegation’s visit will begin at 10 a.m. with the meeting with the speaker of Crimea’s parliament, the State Council, Vladimir Konstantinov. The delegation members will be later received by the republic’s head Sergey Aksyonov in the Council of Ministers, the executive branch of government.
“Under the program, during the meeting with Aksyonov a memorandum will be signed on sister cities between Simferopol’s administration head Gennady Bakharev and a representative of a municipality of Padua (Veneto, northern Italy), who arrived as part of the delegation,” the Yalta International Economic Forum foundation’s member said.
Simferopol has sister relations with 11 cities: Donetsk, Irkutsk, Kecskemet (Hungary), Novocherkassk, Omsk, Ruse (Bulgaria), Salem (US), Heidelberg (Germany), Chernovtsy (Ukraine), Eskisehir (Turkey) and Moscow’s south-western administrative district.
The delegation of MPs and businessmen comes from five Italian regions – Veneto, Liguria, Lombardy, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. During the visit, its members plan to discuss with Crimea’s authorities and business community the issues of cooperation and the prospects of lifting the Western sanctions. The regional parliaments of these regions adopted resolutions earlier this year calling to recognize Crimea and cancel sanctions against Russia.
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of Kiev authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.