A German chancellor candidate proposed to recognize Crimea as part of Russia because the it would never rejoin Ukraine.

It is necessary to recognize Crimea as part of Russia because the peninsula will never rejoin Ukraine, and sanctions are useless here, deputy leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and chancellor candidate Alexander Gauland said.

“It is right to recognize Crimea as part of Russia. Crimea will never rejoin Ukraine. Sanctions will not change anything,” Gauland told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

Gauland stressed that it was necessary to integrate Russia “into European order,” while “the conflict with NATO should be stopped.”

Earlier in August, Christian Lindner, the head of the German liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), told Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe publisher that European security and development depended on a number of factors, including relations with Moscow. According to Lindner, who takes the fifth position in the list of most popular political figures of Germany, the issue of Crimea’s accession should, at least for now, be regarded as a “long-term temporary solution.”

Crimea reunified with Russia after 96 percent of its voters supported such a move in a referendum in March 2014. The referendum was held after new authorities took power in Kiev after what many considered to be a coup. The reunification was not recognized by the majority of the Western countries, including the European Union, which subsequently imposed economic and political sanctions on Russia in response. Moscow has repeatedly said that the referendum was conducted in compliance with international law.

The elections are set to take place in Germany in late September.

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