"A talented journalist, writer, public figure, he was a great friend to our country, has repeatedly visited the Russian Crimea, participated in the Italian delegation at the Yalta International Economic Forum. Giulietto Chiesa, unlike many of his Western colleagues, was never afraid to go against the political conditions and told the truth about Crimea", Aksenov wrote on his VK page, noting that he personally knew the journalist.
The head of Crimea added that Chiesa did everything to convey the truth to the international community, to dispel propaganda myths, to break through the media blockade of the peninsula.
"I express my deepest and most sincere condolences to Giulietto Chiesa's family and friends. His blessed memory will forever remain in our hearts", Aksenov wrote.
Chiesa died on Sunday at the age of 79. The preliminary cause of his death is a heart attack.
Chiesa worked in Moscow for over 20 years as a correspondent for the Italian L'Unita and La Stampa newspapers. In 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament, worked in several other parliamentary commissions, and was the EU-Russia parliamentary commission's delegation member. In 2010, Chiesa founded the Alternativa socio-political movement in Genoa.
Crimea reunified with Russia in 2014 following a successful referendum on the matter on the peninsula. While Western countries and Kiev have not recognised Crimea's new status and accused Moscow of meddling in Ukraine's affairs, Moscow has denied any interference claims and insisted that the referendum was carried out in line with international law.