Putin arrives in Crimea in first visit since annexation

Putin arrives in Crimea in first visit since annexation
Fri May 9, 2014 17:53:23

On a triumphant visit Friday to Crimea, President Vladimir Putin hailed Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula as he celebrated Victory Day, the most important day in the Russian calendar.

Putin gave a speech in the city of Sevastopol _ it was his first trip to Crimea since the region left Ukraine and became part of Russia in March.

The Russian leader watched a parade of Russian navy ships and a flyby of Russian aircraft marking the Victory Day commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Earlier in the day, Putin was in Moscow for a massive show of military muscle in the annual Red Square parade on Victory Day.

Putin made no reference to the situation in Ukraine in his speech in Moscow, which focused on the historic importance of the victory over the Nazis.

The Victory Day celebrations come at a time when the world's attention is focused on Ukraine's political crisis. Pro-Russian protestors in eastern Ukraine have been fighting with the government and are preparing to hold a referendum on secession on Sunday.


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