Sobchak says planned to go to Crimea on humanitarian mission, not to campaign

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK. March 13 (Interfax) – Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak said that she has no plans to campaign in Crimea and was going to travel there on a humanitarian mission.

“I am not going to campaign there and have never planned to do so. But thousands of petitions are coming to me from Crimean Tatars, from people who have lost their property. I was planning to go to Crimea on a humanitarian mission,” Sobchak said at the presidential debates aired on Channel One on Tuesday morning.

“But our Ukrainian colleagues are, unfortunately, behaving the way they are behaving. But I am sure that it is not a problem of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. It is a problem of the Ukrainian government, which behaves strangely, and it is a problem of the Russian government,” she said.

Russia “will have to settle the Crimean problem, due to which sanctions have been imposed on us today, and we have all kinds of troubles, and a lot of problems all around the world,” Sobchak said.

Sobchak had requested that the Ukrainian embassy permit her to visit Crimea, which she believes to be the territory of Ukraine. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin described this request as “political schizophrenia.” This would be “lawful entry to undertake an illegitimate campaign in an illegitimate election on occupied territory,” he said.

“I don’t really want to respond to a senior official of a sovereign country by something like ‘It takes one to know one,’ but just think about it: the Ukrainian authorities obstructed the only Russian politician who backed their national sovereignty to visit their country in strict compliance with its laws […] Which of us has schizophrenia?” Sobchak wrote on Instagram.

The Russian presidential election will be held on March 18.