Putin’s visit to Crimea

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United States has criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Crimea on Friday.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that the trip was provocative and unnecessary. She also called on pro-Russian separatists to stop resorting to the use of force.
Gunfire was exchanged on Friday between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine’s military in the southeastern city of Mariupol.Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited Crimea for the first time since Russia annexed the region from Ukraine in March.

Putin visited Sevastopol, a port city on the Crimean peninsula, on a holiday that marks the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany.

Putin was joined by Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in watching a parade of Russia's Black Sea Fleet based in the port city.

Putin later addressed retired veterans and citizens and stressed that Crimea had been part of Russia since the time of the Czars. He declared that both Russia and Crimea will be stronger together. The event was aired live on Russia's state-run TV.
Crimea was the center of intense fighting between Nazi Germany and the former Soviet Union during World War Two. Many lives were lost in the fighting.

Putin's visit to Crimea on Victory Day is seen as sending a strong message that the region is now part of Russia. It is a claim that Western nations dispute.

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