• Fri
  • Nov 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:09pm

Putin visits to Crimea on war anniversary to hail its vote to join Russia

After attending Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, Russian leader hails 'historic truth' on his first visit to Crimea since annexation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 May, 2014, 7:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 May, 2014, 11:10pm

President Vladimir Putin flew into Crimea yesterday for parades marking the Soviet victory in the second world war, his first visit since annexing the peninsula from Ukraine, which Russia says has been taken over by fascists.

Putin hailed Crimea's return to Russia as a "historic truth".

He told a cheering crowd in the port city of Sevastopol: "2014 will go down in history ... as the year when people living here firmly decided to be together with Russia, thus confirming their loyalty to historic truth."

The Russian leader added: "Much work remains, but we will overcome all difficulties ... because we are together. And that means we are even stronger."

In eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow rebels plan a referendum tomorrow to follow Crimea in breaking from Kiev, up to eight people were reported killed in the port of Mariupol, one of the bloodiest clashes yet between Ukrainian forces and separatists.

Much work remains, but we will overcome all difficulties ... we are together

The head of Nato, locked in its gravest confrontation with Russia since the cold war, condemned Putin's visit to Crimea, whose annexation in March has not been recognised by Western powers. Secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen also renewed doubts over an assurance by Putin that he had pulled back troops from the Ukrainian border.

The government in Kiev called Putin's visit a "provocation" that was intended to escalate the crisis.

Earlier yesterday, Putin presided over the biggest Victory Day parade in Moscow for years. The passing tanks, aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles were a reminder to the world - and Russian voters - of Putin's determination to revive Moscow's global power, 23 years after the Soviet collapse.

"The iron will of the Soviet people, their fearlessness and stamina saved Europe from slavery," Putin said in a speech to the military and war veterans gathered in Red Square.

Ukraine's SBU security service accused Russian saboteurs of setting a fire that briefly disrupted state broadcasting services and the foreign ministry issued a statement describing Putin's visit as a deliberate escalation of the crisis.

In Mariupol, the main port on the Sea of Azov, a member of Ukraine's parliament said Ukrainian forces attacked the police headquarters in an attempt to drive out pro-Russian militants, and the building caught fire.

Oleh Lyashko said eight rebels had been killed in fighting. But Donetsk medical authorities said three had been killed in fighting and 25 wounded.

In Sevastopol, where Russia's Black Sea Fleet previously had to lease its base from Ukraine, servicemen and veterans marched in a parade before Putin's arrival that also included armoured vehicles and anti-aircraft missiles. Banners read "Sevastopol without fascists" and "It's our duty to remember".

"I'm here to prevent any provocations from the fascists. I served in a self-defence unit during March, and I consider it my duty to be here," said local resident Natalya Malyarchuk, 52.

In Slavyansk, the military stronghold of the separatists in eastern Ukraine, "people's mayor" Vyacheslav Ponomaryov and a guard of militiamen led a march of 2,000 people to lay flowers at a memorial to the war dead.

Voters will be asked tomorrow to approve the secession of self-styled "people's republics" in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Valdimir Putin will become the greatest leader of Russia. Finally a great man that will right the wrongs from centuries of Anglo-Saxon imperialism and war-mongering.
What about WWII? American supplies accounted for huge amounts of weaponry used by Russia in defeating Hitler? That was NOT imperialism. After the war great Britain and the US gave up almost all claims to lands they deemed ready for Democratic self governing. Countries in 1948 included, India, Pakistan, Israel, as well as the Philippines and several others. That's not imperialism or they would not have received their freedom. Your view of world history seems largely based on hate of the western democracies and republics rather than facts. Sure there have been darker days but by and large from 1948 to the present the west has not been imperialistic. Those days largely came to a close after WWI and WWII. Remember that Great Britain once held over 25% of the land mass of the world.
How About
VE Day, and the deserved victor of the WW2!
At the same time there is the deafening silence from the allies! Nevertheless this is a good sign, that history about this WW is not disrecpected, amidst the disinterest....
Putin is a little man who use foreign politics hiding disastrous state of his country and failing economy.
With the expansion of Russia via force in the Crimea and the ever closer friendship with Iran and military ties with Syria and Egypt, Russia looks to be rapidly becoming exactly what the Bible says it will become in the end times. Even Turkey a long time western ally has turned more from the west and has turned even more into an Islamic nation. Russia and a number of Arab nations will attack Israel sometime in the tribulation period the Bible speaks about in Ezekiel chapter 38. All of these relationships have grown and come into being in our present day. I wrote a small booklet that talks about some of what the Bible says will happen in the end times as well as what will happen during the period known as the seven (360 day) year tribulation and other soon to take place events. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s about 6 or 7 pages, so it’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look: ****www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next


SCMP.com Account