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Ukraine benefits from destabilizing Crimea, says Crimean leader

May 21, 19:50 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

Earlier reports said the Federal Security Service had thwarted in Crimea the activity of an extremist group created by Erol Veliyev, an aide to a Ukrainian parliamentarian

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Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov

Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov

© Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, May 21. /TASS/. Only Ukraine benefits from destabilizing Crimea, Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov said on Monday in comments on the activity of an extremist group thwarted on the peninsula.

Earlier reports said the Federal Security Service (FSB) had thwarted in Crimea the activity of an extremist group created by Erol Veliyev, an aide to Ukrainian parliamentarian Mustafa Dzhemilev, upon instructions from Refat Chubarov, the wanted leader of the outlawed in Russia Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, and with the support of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).

"There is no need to be Sherlock Holmes to understand where the problem stems from. Only Ukraine benefits at the present moment from destabilizing the situation in the Republic of Crimea, and it has been making these clumsy attempts for the past four years, since we returned to our historical homeland," Aksyonov wrote on his Facebook page.

He pledged that the Russian secret services "are working and nipping in the bud the activity of such persons. "I am confident that all those involved in these crimes will be detained and brought to account," he said. The Crimean leader stressed that all security measures are observed in Crimea during mass actions and at public places, adding that the anti-terrorist commission functions well.

Apart from Veliyev, the group comprised former boxers Steshenko and Tretyakov Steshenko was detained and released on condition not to leave the town. Tretyakov and Veliyev are on the run.

According to the Russian secret services, in January 2018, members of the extremist group set ablaze the house of Crimean mufti Emirali Ablayev, who had made a substantial contribution to the strengthening of national unity.

Investigators from the FSB Directorate for Crimea and Sevastopol launched criminal cases for offences under Parts 1 and 1.1 Article 282.1 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Establishment of an extremist group and recruitment of people for activity in an extremist group") against Veliyev and under Part 2 Article 282.1 ("Participation in an extremist group") against Steshenko and Tretyakov.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the authorities in Kiev who seized power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The Russian president signed the reunification deals on March 18, 2014. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

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