Tag Archives: Sevastopol

Power line accidents reduce energy supply from Ukraine to Crimea

Electricity supply to Crimea has been reduced by half and the region is experiencing rotating blackouts following two accidents on power lines coming from Ukraine, Crimea’s energy company says.

Earlier, Crimean Vice-PM Rustam Temirgaliev said that Ukrainian national energy company Ukrenergo reduced the electricity supply to Crimea by 50 percent. “Ukrenegro reduced the power in its power lines cutting the amount of supplied energy by half,” the top official told Kryminfo news agency.

Temirgaliev described the power shortages as “blackmail” on behalf of Kiev.

Crimean energy company DTEK Krymenergo said in a statement on its website that accidents on two power lines connecting the peninsula with Ukraine forced it to put them offline on Sunday.

There are a total of three power lines coming from Ukraine. All of them are operated by Ukrenergo.

This comes after Crimea and the port city of Sevastopol officially joined Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed law amending the Russian constitution to reflect the transition on Friday. Earlier, Russian lawmakers ratified both the amendment and an international treaty with Crimea and Sevastopol, which was legally required for the incorporation.

The Russian ruble becomes an official currency of the peninsula on Monday, alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia.

Temirgaliev also said earlier the reduction of the energy supply is Kiev’s attempt to blackmail the Russian Federation into some concessions. “It can be explained by these people’s foolishness,” he said. “We don’t have any debts. There is no reason for the blackout. They are just ‘training.’”

The vice-PM added that Crimea was prepared for such developments. “We understand what we are signing up for. We will economize on consumption, but we won’t have any disaster, crisis or collapse.”

via Power line accidents reduce energy supply from Ukraine to Crimea — RT News.

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Crimean self-defense squads enter Belbek airbase

Civilians are led by members of Crimea’s self-defence units as they run outside a military base during an assault in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol March 22, 2014

Crimean self-defense forces have surrounded Belbek airbase near Sevastopol after Ukrainian troops inside refused to lay arms and leave the base in accordance to the Crimean prime minister’s order.

The self-defense squads are now in control of the airbase while the Ukrainian troops have been given an opportunity to leave, Dmitry Osipenko, a journalist for Sevastopol news website ForPost who was present at the scene, told RT.

The commander of the airbase, Yuliy Mamchur, has been escorted to negotiations with Crimean authorities.

“After they refused [to leave the base] the Sevastopol self-defense troops tried to enter the territory of the base,” while gunfire was heard at the scene. “According to my information nobody was injured, but I’m not sure,” said Osipenko.

Osipenko claimed the gunfire was coming from the side of the Ukrainian troops. However, it is unclear who was shooting. “The self-defense forces hid behind cars and then a car rammed the gate [of the airbase],” he said.

Members of Crimea’s self-defense forces and residents outside a military base in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol March 22, 2014

He stated that apart from the self-defense squads, Sevastopol Cossaks were present.

The move follows the March 16 all-Crimean referendum which resulted in over 96 percent of voters opting for the autonomous republic to join Russia. Eight-three percent of the Crimeans took part in the vote. The decision was sparked by bloody protests in Kiev that resulted in the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich and fears that the unrest might spread to Crimea.

Russia finalized the legal process of taking Crimea under its sovereignty on Friday, with President Vladimir Putin signing a law amending the Russian constitution to reflect the transition.

‘We are being abandoned’

Though Crimea is no longer part of Ukraine, Kiev authorities have not yet officially ordered Ukrainian troops to leave their bases in Crimea.

Ukrainian military troops stationed at Belbek criticized their leadership for abandoning them in a post on the airbase’s blog.

We are being abandoned – most sadly by our own government,” it reads. “The most dangerous enemy appeared to be our leadership and our government.”

“Today I’ve found an interview with Acting Minister of Defense [Igor] Tenyukh where he says he maintains contact with all troops on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, that all relevant orders were given and the situation is under control. There were only two orders – ‘remain in place’ and ‘[you are ] allowed to use weapons.’ That’s it!”

Members of Crimea’s self-defense forces and residents outside a military base in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol March 22, 2014

What is expected [of us] in case of an assault?” the military asked. ”There were no clear answers given to us.”

Meanwhile, most US financial assistance to Ukraine will focus on the formation and maintenance of the new military – the National Guard, said a source from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, as cited by Itar-Tass.

Kiev is not planning to fund the army or navy which are in a deplorable state,” the source said.

The National Guard, the custodian of the coup-imposed government, is already in formation and will be comprised of 60,000 men and women from former and current Ukrainian troops and volunteers from Maidan self-defense squads. It will be appointed by the parliament upon the recommendation of the acting president.

Members of Crimea’s self-defense units take cover behind cars outside a military base in the Crimean town of Belbek near Sevastopol March 22, 2014

 

 

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Crimea, Sevastopol officially join Russia as Putin signs final decree

Russia has finalized the legal process of taking Crimea under its sovereignty, as President Putin signed a law amending the Russian constitution to reflect the transition.

Earlier Russian lawmakers ratified both the amendment and an international treaty with Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which was legally required for the incorporation.

Following the signing of the law, Putin thanked lawmakers and everyone involved in the historic change of European borders for their efforts to make it happen.

“I ask lawmakers of both chambers to work actively and do everything we can, to make the transition process not only painless, but also beneficial for all Russia and the people of Crimea,” Putin said.

The treaty and the bill were submitted for the approval of Russian lawmakers on Tuesday by Putin, following last week’s referendum in Crimea, which showed the overwhelming support of the peninsula’s residents for joining Russia.

The actual transition of Crimea to existing under Russian laws and regulations may take until next year. Local rules in the new Russian region will be changed to adopt the ruble, social benefits, tax requirements and other Russian legislation.

As was promised by the Crimean authorities, the treaty includes preferences for the region’s ethnic minorities, particularly Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. Their languages would be official in Crimea, on par with Russian.

Russia pledged to make the process as smooth as possible by offering funding and recognizing various Ukrainian documents, which were in force in Crimea before it declared its independence last week.

Moscow will retain military ranks and academic levels for Ukrainian troops who choose to serve Russia, give preference to Ukrainian officials who want to keep their positions in Crimea, and expedite the issuance of Russian citizenship to all residents of Crimea who want it. Citizenship would be given automatically to all except those who explicitly opt out of it no later than one month’s time.

The current interim authorities of Crimea will be replaced with new ones after elections, which will be held in September 2015.

Crimea’s rejoining Russia was triggered by an armed coup in Kiev, which ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanokovich from power. The new authorities took some alarming steps, including parliament passing a law revoking the regional status of the Russian language, which caused the predominantly Russian region to defy Kiev.

The public uprising in Crimea culminated in a referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of over 96 percent voted in favor of asking for reunification with Russia. Moscow agreed, citing the will of the people and the historic justice of the move as its motives.

Kiev and Western countries deemed Crimea’s secession and Russia’s acceptance of the peninsula illegal, a notion that Moscow denies. The US and the EU issued sanctions against some Russian officials and businessmen in a bid to put pressure on Russia over its stance on the Ukrainian crisis. Russian authorities mostly mocked the sanctions.

RT News

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First passports handed out to new Russian citizens in Crimea

The first passports have been handed out to the new Russian citizens in Crimea on Wednesday, the head of the Federal Migration Service said.

The treaty of Crimea’s accession to Russia “was signed yesterday… And all, who appealed to the Federal Migration Service in the Crimea, will receive their passports. This work has started. Some of the passports were issued today,” said Konstantin Romodanovsky, the head of the Federal Migration Service, as cited by Itar-Tass news agency.

The official did not elaborate on how or on what terms the Crimeans who do not wish to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship will live and work in the peninsula.

However, Romodanovsky said Russia is concerned by symptoms of a growing “humanitarian catastrophe” in Ukraine.

“As a sign, the number of elderly people and children entering Russia has grown twice as big,” he said. He did not give the periods of which he was comparing, or exact figures.

More than that, Russia is worried by the growing number of Ukrainians crossing the Russian border without any clear purpose such as work.

“We shared those concerns with the office management of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. To some extent, our concerns were understood and we began an interaction with the organization,” Romodanovsky stressed.

Also on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin has tasked the Labor Ministry with increasing the pensions of Crimeans to the Russian level as soon as possible, which will see benefits in the peninsula doubling.

All citizens of Russia must be placed in the same conditions. How you do it is your business. Think it over with State Duma deputies and do it. There must be no delays. Do it as soon as possible,” the president told labor minister Maksim Topilin.

According to Topilin, there are currently 677,000 pensioners in Crimea and Sevastopol, who have been receiving around 1,600 hryvnas (around US$160) from the Ukrainian state.

This is significantly lower than the average in Russia,” he stressed, adding that the difference in the level of pensions with Ukraine is about two times in Russia’s favor.

The minister assured Putin that delay-free payment of pensions in Crimea and Sevastopol will be provided.

Bringing Crimean benefits to Russia’s level “will require a special law” which is currently being developed, Topilin said.

The head of the Federal Migration Service expressed hope that Russia and the UN, together, will be able to find a way to minimize the negative consequences of the unstable situation in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, funds from the Russian budget will be used to help Crimea and Sevastopol solve its economic problems, the country’s finance minister, Anton Siluanov, announced.

The total deficit on the budget of Sevastopol and Crimea in 2014 is 55 billion roubles (around $1.5 billion),” Siluanov is cited by RIA-Novosti news agency.

The minister specially stressed that the National Welfare Fund won’t be affected as the money for the Crimea will be taken from the unallocated reserve of the Russian budget.

On March 16, Crimea held a referendum, in which over 96 percent of its citizens voted to join Russia. Two days later, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status, became federal objects of the Russian Federation.

RT News.

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Crimea military center shooting resembles sniper fire at Kiev’s Maidan

Special forces banish an unidentified man from the Photogrammtry Center of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Kubanskaya Street in Simferopol. Unidentified people allegedly attempted to seize the center on March 18.

The shooting in the Crimean city of Simferopol bears a strong resemblance to the actions of snipers in central Kiev, as February violent clashes, local prosecution said. Russia considers the shooting that left two killed and two injured a “provocation.”

Speaking at the press-briefing the next day after the gunfire in Simferopol, Crimean prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya, shed very little light on what exactly happened outside the Ukrainian military topography and navigation center.

Stressing that the investigation is still on-going, she recounted how several unarmed officers of the Ministry of Defense of Russia had come to oversee progress on a joint matter regarding mapping. Their visit was earlier agreed with the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces and with Kiev.

Several of their colleagues, who at the time were outside the building of the compound, were fired upon.

“While cartographers were on the territory of the center, some self-defense unit representatives, protecting the center from the outside, came under fire,” Poklonskaya said.

Bullets came from a similar direction, but with varying trajectories, resulting in the death of two officers on both sides and a further two injuries.

Single shots were fired “simultaneously in the direction of Crimean self-defense units and Ukrainian servicemen.” Investigators have found bullets at the scene, but Poklonskaya was reluctant to reveal what kind of gun was used.

“Experts familiar with the crime scene believe the crimes perpetrated today bear a strong resemblance to the actions of snipers on the Maidan on February 18-21,” she summed up.

If this turns out to be the case, she said, it is possible that the attack was possibly aimed at “provoking clashes between the servicemen of Ukraine and Crimea.”

Crimean prosecutor, Natalya Poklonskaya

Now investigators are working on establishing a number of attackers and their exact location.

Earlier, the local interior ministry said in a press release that the shoots came from a house under construction opposite the center.

There has also been information that a sniper was detained. But later this information appeared to be bogus.

At the briefing, the prosecutor stressed that no one had been detained in connection with the shooting.

Despite very little details immediately available, shortly after news of the shooting broke, Western media was fast to point a finger at Russia, blaming the attack on “pro-Russian forces.” This view was shared in Kiev, which in an immediate reaction authorized Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea to use firearms to “defend their lives.”

However, in Russia the shooting is widely seen as a provocation after Crimea and Sevastopol were accepted into the Russian Federation and the treaty was signed.

“What happened in Simferopol yesterday was beyond any doubt a provocation and its style suggests that the sniper there acted in the same manner as the ones on Maidan,” Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Aleksandr Vitko. “Two people died as a result,” he added. “Nonetheless, the hotheads in the incumbent Ukrainian leadership said something about permission to shoot. I’d like to warn everyone in this connection and especially the men and officers of the Ukrainian Naval Forces, God forbid you to make a single shot, even from a slingshot. Matches are not toys, and I’d like to ask everyone to understand it in the very literal sense.”

The situation in Crimea was discussed in NATO between Russia’s Ambassador to the Alliance and its military officials.

“We have informed them that we see this incident as a provocation. The Russian troops were not involved in it; there was no storming of the Ukrainian military base as claimed by the authorities in Kiev. The incident is now being investigated, those guilty will not walk away from the responsibility,” Russian Ambassador to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, was cited by Interfax as saying.

Crimean authorities have shared this stance, saying that the shooting in Simferopol was indeed a provocation aimed at spreading a “spirit of hatred and fear.”

“Such provocative tactics of putting in confrontation opposing parties was systematically employed at Maidan in Kiev. In a similar way provocateurs are trying to blow up the peace and harmony in our house,” Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian coup-appointed Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a note of protest to Russia following the death of a Ukrainian soldier in Simferopol.

“Today he [the Russian charge d’affaires in Kiev, Andrey Vorobyev] was once again given a note against provoking armed incidents, violence and murder of Ukrainian soldiers,” the Ministry said.

A criminal case has been launched after the shooting and the charges are in line with Article 115 of the Ukrainian criminal code – murder. But there is still a lot that is unclear about the attack. It was even less known on the evening it took place.

This, however, was not an obstacle for a stream of conflicting reports, speculating that Russian forces were “storming the base.”

RT’s team was one of the first to arrive at the scene. As they came to the base, RT producer, Lida Vasilevskaya, reported the center was already surrounded by men in camouflage and the situation was “calm.”

She learned that the majority of the staff working at the military topography research center are women. The center’s area is rather small, and servicemen have only six machine guns and three Makarov guns to provide security.

It was confirmed to RT that the shooting did take place, but by that time it was unclear where the shooting had come from. This is yet to be investigated.

RT News.

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US warship Truxtun begins naval exercise in Black Sea

The US Navy destroyer “USS Truxtun” enters the Black Sea port

The USS Truxtun destroyer started a one-day military exercise with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies in the Black Sea.

The US military has described the exercise as a “routine” mission scheduled ahead of the Ukraine crisis, which witnessed the Ukrainian opposition forcing the democratically elected president, Victor Yanukovich, to flee the capital Kiev on February 22, a US Naval official told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Truxtun last week participated in drills with Romanian and Bulgarian ships a few hundred miles from Russian forces of the Black Sea Fleet.

“There are many reasons for exercises with allies, it allows us an opportunity to assure our NATO allies that we support them,” Shawn Eklund, a public affairs officer for US Naval Forces Europe, told Reuters.

The naval maneuvers follow Russia and Crimea signing treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol in the Russian Federation.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov and Sevastopol mayor, Aleksey Chaly, signed a historic agreement for Crimea and Sevastopol to join the Russian Federation

The Crimean Peninsula juts into the north of the Black Sea, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which was founded by Prince Grigory Potemkin in 1783.

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Ukrainian servicemen leave Navy base in Sevastopol as Crimea protesters storm HQ

Men, believed to be Ukrainian servicemen, with belongings walk past armed men, while leaving the territory of the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014.

At least 30 Ukrainian naval personnel have left the Ukrainian Navy headquarters in the city of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula after demonstrators stormed the premises early in the morning.

Crimean self-defense troops have made a passage to let Ukrainian servicemen leave the territory of the HQ. Reports on the number of people to have left vary with ITAR-TASS saying around 50 personnel are gone, Rear Admiral Sergey Gaiduk of the Ukrainian Navy among them.

However, Kryminform says Gaiduk has been detained by the Sevastopol prosecutor’s office while RIA Novosti reports that his whereabouts is unknown.

People began protesting outside the HQ at 08:00 GMT. Several thousand participants cut fences, stormed inside and changed the flags on the flagpoles. Some of the participants of the rally were singing the Russian national anthem.

There were no immediate reports of violence.

A pro-Russian supporter takes down a Ukrainian flag after breaking into the territory of the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014.

The protesters hoisted Russian and St. Andrew’s flags, the latter being the Russian Navy Ensign, according to Interfax.

There was an immediate alert on the territory of the HQ and the Ukrainian seamen lined up in front of the protesters, reports Interfax. The line was broken by cars belonging to activists that entered the territory.

The protesters were calling upon the Ukrainian servicemen to leave the HQ. An ambulance was also called as a precaution.

Ukrainian servicemen pass by armed men while leaving the territory of the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014.

UkrStream.TV cameras which recorded the situation near the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy show no violence on the precinct.

After the protesters entered the navy HQ territory, they began holding talks with the representatives of the Ukrainian Navy.

According to Sevastopol news websites, the Commander of the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Vitko, later arrived to negotiate with Gaiduk.

Ukrainian officers abandon Sevastopol naval base

Ukrainian officers abandon Sevastopol naval base

After just 15 minutes of negotiations, Vitko left the grounds and refused to comment on the results of the talks with Gaiduk.

Before leaving, both rear admirals held talks with Admiral Yury Ilyin, the new Army chief and Admiral Viktor Maksimov, the head of Ukraine’s Naval Forces.

Earlier, there were reports of possible provocations. Some unidentified men tried to enter the building. However, the attempts failed due to Self-Defense Unit guards and Crimean Cossacks.

A man holds a Russian flag on the roof of the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014.

Ukrainian armed forces commander Mikhail Kucin has informed his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov that he has authorized the use of military force by troops stationed in Crimea, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

In a phone conversation with Gerasimov, Kucin has emphasized de-escalation and a political solution to the crisis, rather than a violent one. The green light to use force has been given by him in the aftermath of the events in Simferopol, which have led to the death of one Ukrainian soldier and another from the Crimean Self-Defense Forces, while two others were injured.

On March 16, Crimea held a referendum in which over 96 percent of its citizens voted to join Russia. Two days later, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status, became federal objects of the Russian Federation.

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Crimea protesters storm Ukrainian Navy base in Sevastopol

A Ukrainian serviceman (C) passes by pro-Russian supporters and members of self-defence units as he leaves the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014.

Demonstrators have stormed the Ukrainian Navy HQ in the town of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.

The protesters hoisted Russian and St. Andrew’s flags, the latter being the Russian Navy Ensign, according to Interfax.

People have been protesting outside the HQ since 08:00GMT. Several thousand participants have cut the fences, stormed inside and changed the flags on the flagpoles. There have been no immediate reports of violence.

The participants of the rally are currently holding talks with the representatives of the Ukrainian Navy. Russian forces are not party to the negotiations.

There was an immediate alert on the territory of the HQ and the Ukrainian servicemen lined up in front of the protesters, reports Interfax. The line was broken by cars belonging to activists that entered the territory.

The protesters are calling upon the Ukrainian servicemen to leave the HQ. An ambulance has been called as a precaution.

A Ukrainian naval officer (C) passes by armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, as he leaves the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014.

 

Some of the participants of the rally have been singing the Russian anthem.

UkrStream.TV cameras which are currently recording the situation near the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy show no violence on the precinct.

According to Sevastopol news websites, the Commander of the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Vitko, has just arrived in the HQ of the Ukrainian Navy and negotiations are underway.

Vitko arrived at the HQ 30 minutes ago and is currently holding talks with Rear Admiral Sergey Gaiduk of the Ukrainian Navy.

After the negotiations, Vitko left the Ukrainian Navy HQ and refused to comment on the results of the talks with Gaiduk.

According to Reuters, nearly a dozen unarmed Ukrainian servicemen have walked out of HQ.

Earlier, there were reports of possible provocations. Some unidentified men tried to enter the building. However, the attempts failed due to Self-Defense Unit guards and Crimean Cossacks.

Ukrainian armed forces commander Mikhail Kucin, has informed his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov that he has authorized the use of military force by troops stationed in Crimea, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

In a phone conversation with Gerasimov, Kucin has emphasized de-escalation and a political solution to the crisis, rather than a violent one. The green light to use force has been given by him in the aftermath of the events in Simferopol, which have led to the death of one Ukrainian soldier and another from the Crimean Self-Defense Forces, while two others were injured.

On March 16 Crimea held a referendum where over 97 percent of its citizens voted for joining Russia. Two days later, the Autonomous republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status, became federal objects of the Russian Federation.

 

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2 killed, 2 injured in shooting near Crimea military research center, ‘sniper detained’

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Two people – a self-defense member and a Ukrainian soldier – were killed and two others wounded after snipers opened fire from a partially inhabited building near a military research center in Simferopol. One sniper was detained, another is on the run.

As RT producer Lida Vasilevskaya arrived on the scene, the perimeter of the Ukrainian military topography and navigation center had already been surrounded by men in camouflage and the situation was “calm.”

The local Interior Ministry said in a press release that shooting came from a house under construction opposite the center and targeted Crimean self-defense units as well the military center itself.

“Earlier today self-defense units were informed that a group of armed men had been discovered in a partially inhabited building,” the press release said. “As the self-defense were taking measures to check, they came under fire, presumably from a sniper rifle,” police said adding that shooting came “in two directions from one spot.”

One self-defense unit member was killed and another wounded, police said. Also, one Ukrainian soldier who was guarding the military research center, was killed, and another wounded.

Earlier, Ukrainian servicemen told RT that last night unknown groups tried to break into several military bases, but self-defense units managed to prevent them from entering.

“Guys from self-defense told me today that they were afraid of provocations,” Lida Vasilevskaya tweeted.

Crimean Interior Ministry did not rule out a provocation aimed at complicating the situation in the city after Crimea and Sevastopol were accepted into the Russian Federation.

Despite lack of verified details of what exactly happened in Simferopol, and a stream of conflicting reports, Kiev immediately claimed “Russian soldiers started shooting at Ukrainian servicemen”.

“This is a war crime without any statute of limitations,” coup-appointed Prime-Minister Yatsenyuk told a meeting at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

In another immediate reaction to the accident, acting President Aleksandr Turchinov authorized Ukrainian troops stationed in Crimea to use firearms to “defend their lives.”

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600,000 people attend Moscow rally for Crimea-Russia reunification

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A concert rally in support of the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation, held in Moscow’s Red Square gathered around 600,000 people. At the rally Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine will overcome its crisis, and further development of our relationship depends on the joint actions of Kiev and Moscow.

“The We Are Together concert rally in the Red Square ended without incident. About 600,000 people took part in it,” the police spokesperson said.

“We are very worried by what is happening in Ukraine but I believe that Ukraine will overcome all the difficulties. We are not just neighbors, we the closest relatives, and our future success depends on us, both Russia and Ukraine,” Putin said at the We Are Together rally held in Moscow in support of Crimea becoming part of Russia.

Today is “a very joyful, fair, festive day,” the president said.

“After a hard, long and exhausting journey Crimea and Sevastopol are returning to their home harbor, to their home shores, to their permanent home port – to Russia,” Putin said.

He thanked the people of Crimea and Sevastopol for “their decisive position and articulated will to be together with Russia.”

The concert rally took place at the Red Square and was organized by public, patriotic veteran and youth organizations.

Shortly before the president’s arrival to the rally it was attended by Chairman of the Crimean State Council Vladimir Konstantinov, head of the Crimean Council of Ministers Sergei Aksyonov and Sevastopol’s Authorized Chairman Alexei Chaly, who met with Putin separately in the Kremlin earlier.

Earlier on Tuesday the Russian president addressed the Federal Assembly over the accession of Crimea to Russia. Later the president signed an agreement on the admission of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation and the formation of new Russian constituent regions.

Tens of thousands gather in Moscow to support Crimea-Russia reunification

A rally on the occasion of Crimea’s reunification with Russia that began at 2 pm GMT (6 pm Moscow Time) on Red Square has brought together tens of thousands of people.

The crowd was waving the Russian national tricolors, St. George’s flags, as well as the banners of main political parties and a host of public movements, an Itar-Tass correspondent said in an eyewitness account from the site.

Many people brought posters with them. The most typical slogans said “Crimea Is With Us”, “Welcome Back”, “We Are Together”, “We Stand For Peace”, “Russia and Crimea Are One”, “Crimea is the Russian Land”, “We Don”t Need Others” Property, But Won”t Give Away What”s Our Own”, “We Trust Putin”, and “Long Live the Fraternal People”.

The rally was broadcast to a huge outdoor screen installed on Manezhnaya Square located in a stone’s throw from Red Square and the Kremlin. A specially organized corridor, which begins at Revolution Square metro station, provides access to Red Square but anyone wishing to get to the rally has to pass metal searchers.

 

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