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MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. The theme of Crimea is not just a question of territory — Russia has enough of that — it is also a spiritual root that makes Russians a nation, President Vladimir Putin said at a combined gala show and rally We are Together in central Moscow timed to the first anniversary of the peninsula’s return to Russia’s fold, which gathered a crowd of 110,000.
"We have realized that as far as Crimea is concerned, it is not just some territory, even a strategically important piece of territory. At stake were millions of Russian people and millions of our compatriots who needed our assistance and support," Putin said.
"We have realized how important all that is for us. We have realized that Crimea is not just territory. We have enough of that. It is a question of our historical roots, the sources of our spirituality and statehood. It is something that makes us one people and a united nation."
Putin recalled that exactly one year ago, when the treaty was signed on the admission of Crimea and Sevastopol in Russia the country’s people demonstrated remarkable self-control and patriotism in their support for the people of Crimea and Sevastopol in their determination to return home.
Russia will keep strengthening its statehood and the country, President Vladimir Putin said.
"We will be overcoming the difficulties that we have been so easily creating for ourselves over the recent time," the president added a bit ironically.
Putin dismissed as "kill time" attempts from abroad to make life harder for Russia. "We will of course cope with all problems and difficulties attempted from outside," he pledged. "This is in general kill time as regards Russia," he added.
"Thank you for your support," the president told some 110,000 people gathering for a rally and concert in downtown Moscow. "Long live Russia!" the president said.
The people of Ukraine are yet to give an objective assessment to the activities of those who have brought the country to such a deplorable state, Putin went on to say.
He noted that in Russia Russians and Ukrainians had always been regarded as one people. "And I still think this way today," the Russian president stressed.
"Of course, extreme nationalism is always harmful and dangerous. I am sure that the Ukrainian people are yet to give a worthy and objective assessment to the activities of those who have brought the country to a state, in which it is now," Putin went on to say.
"For our part, we will do everything that depends on us to help Ukraine pass this hard period in its development as soon as possible. We will also do everything to restore normal inter-state ties," Putin said adding that Russia itself was going to progress.