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ROSTOV-ON-DON, March 05, 21:23 /ITAR-TASS/. Thousands of people rallied in the city of Taganrog in southern Russia on Wednesday to support the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine. Taganrog is just 40 kilometers away from Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Therefore, many people at the rally had relatives and families in Ukraine and were particularly concerned with their future.
“The people of Taganrog are ready to come to rescue to all Russian-speakers in Ukraine whose rights are being infringed on by Ukrainian nationalists. We are united despite state borders and no one can take our feelings of brotherhood away from us,” Boris Shabanov, the head of the public coordination assembly of Taganrog, said on behalf of all rally participants.
The protesters included students, Cossacks and representatives of political parties, public and veteran organizations.
Earlier on Wednesday, actions in support of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population, held in Novocherkassk and Rostov-on-Don, assembled about 18,000 people.
A five-thousand pro-Crimean support rally took place in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, on Wednesday.
Akhat Yulashev, the head of Tatarstan’s branch of the Russian Union of Veterans, an All-Russian public veteran organization, told Itar-Tass that the rally had been attended by hundreds of war veterans who liberated Ukraine from fascists during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
“It was our duty to come here and speak up against the mess which the local authorities have provoked in Ukraine,” Yulashev said.
The war veterans protested against the current government in Kiev that is supporting members of the far-right Ukrainian nationalist Bandera Movement (Banderovites) who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and are turning them into national heroes.
According to Yulashev, Tatarstan’s branch of the Russian Union of Veterans unites about 7,000 war veterans who liberated Ukraine from fascists and fought against the Bandera Movement during the war.
The rally was also attended by representatives of Tatarstan’s political parties as well as activists of a regional youth organization, Fatherland that searches for missing Red Army soldiers and officers.
About 700,000 residents of Tatarstan fought at the fronts of the Great Patriotic war (1941-1945). Almost half of them died or went missing; over 200,000 were awarded orders and medals; 225 were awarded the titles of Heroes of the Soviet Union while 48 became Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory.