The tour, organized by the Center for Citizens Initiatives, a civic organization aimed at reducing tensions between the US and Russia, began in Simferopol with a visit to a local orphanage, where delegates, including an anesthesiologist from Santa Clara, met with local officials, planted trees, and interacted with special needs children.
Earlier, delegation members said they weren't concerned about the prospects of Ukraine introducing personal sanctions against them, with one member saying that "in the calls for peace sometimes you need to take risks."
In the course of their tour, which will run until Sunday, the US delegation will visit the cities of Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol.
The Ukrainian crisis and Crimea's unification with Russia led to a severe downturn in relations between Moscow and the West. Western countries slapped Russia with several rounds of sanctions. Russia responded with agricultural sanctions against Western food products.