Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to a proposal Wednesday that would get rid of Russia’s ministry in the disputed territory of Crimea, the Russian News service Life News reported. The Ministry for Crimean Affairs will be replaced by a special commission. The dissolution shows that Crimea has been fully integrated into Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
“Due to the completion of the transition period stipulated in the federal constitutional law of March 21, 2014 No. 6-FKZ — on Crimea joining Russia and on establishing two new regions within Russia: the republic of Crimea and the city of federal importance Sevastopol — and in order to optimize the structure of federal agencies of executive authorities I order: to eliminate a) the Russian Ministry for Crimean Affairs; b) the State Committee for Social and Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol,” the document said, according to news reports.
The Russian Trade and Economic Development Ministry said it’s prepared to oversee the closure of the Ministry for Crimean Affairs. “The Trade and Economic Development Ministry is ready to fulfill any government order, especially bearing in mind that oversight of issues relating to federal target programs and free economic zones in the country is included in the functions of the Trade and Economic Development Ministry,” the ministry official said.
Putin annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March 2014 and was strongly criticized by the international community, especially by NATO and its allies. The degree of Russia’s involvement in the violent conflict in Ukraine has long been disputed.