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Vladimir Putin in triumphal visit to Crimea

By AP Reporters

President Vladimir Putin praised the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands yesterday during his first trip to the Black Sea peninsula since its annexation.

The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and Nato.

The celebrations, which included a massive show of military muscle in the annual Red Square parade in Moscow and in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, came as Ukraine is struggling with its most serious political crisis in decades.

Pro-Russia insurgents in the east are fighting the Government in Kiev and preparing to hold a referendum on Sunday on secession.

Mr Putin hailed the incorporation of Crimea into Russia as "return to the Motherland" and a tribute to the "historical justice and the memory of our ancestors". The peninsula of two million people had been part of Ukraine from 1954 until March.

Belfast Telegraph


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