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Zimbabwe Minister's Visit to Crimea Region Irks Ukraine

FILE: A pro-Russian separatists tank is seen on a road near the village of Rozsypne, eastern Ukraine, Dec. 15, 2014.

Ukraine has raised serious concern about a recent visit by Zimbabwe’s Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to the disputed region of Crimea.

Ukraine is in a bitter dispute with Russia over the control of the region. The Crimea used to be under Kiev but held a referendum, which was supported by just 11 of the 193 United Nations General Assembly member countries in March seeking to go under Russia.

Other nations which supported the annexation include North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Venezuela and Cuba.

Reports from Kiev on Monday said Kasukuwere last week travelled to the disputed region.

Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joey Bimha, refused to comment saying he was on holiday.

Efforts to get a comment from Kasukuwere and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi were futile as their mobile phones went unanswered.

The European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philipe van Damme, said the visit was unfortunate but did not infringe any international statutes.

He said the visit will also not affect the thawing EU-Zimbabwe relations.

International relations expert Clifford Mashiri said Kasukuwere’s visit is suspicious.