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Russian security service says foreign yachts call at Crimean ports despite Kiev's threats

July 30, 2015, 18:20 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

There were 11 yachts from the United States and seven from Great Britain

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© TASS/Mikhail Pochuev

SIMFEROPOL, July 30. /TASS/. A total of 31 yachts belonging to foreign nationals have called at Black Sea ports of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in the past two months, the Russian Federal Security Service’s (FSB, former KGB) border department for Crimea said on Thursday.

It said there were 11 yachts from the United States and seven from Great Britain among the foreign sailboats calling at ports of the region that last year reunited with Russia following a coup in Ukraine.

The border department reminds that on July 2, 2015, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk issued instructions to fine all sea vessels calling at Crimean ports.

"These warnings don’t threaten away foreign sea tourists, who have no plans probably to visit Ukraine," its sources said.

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 authorities brought to 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 the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Crimea joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

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