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Putin: Threat of external forces destabilizing situation in Crimea remains

August 19, 2015, 17:33 UTC+3

Putin noted that the criminogenic situation in Crimea is under control

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© Alexey Nikolsky/Russian president's press service/TASS

SEVASTOPOL, August 19. /TASS/. Outside forces are training saboteurs for subversive activities in Crimea, and these risks should be taken into account, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday at a security meeting in Crimea.

"It is evident that the threat on the part of external forces to destabilize in this or that way the situation on the peninsula remains: either to play a nationalistic card or, using these or those mistakes, blunders, inefficient actions of the authorities, to direct the citizens’ just concern to a destructive alley," Putin said.

He said "some capital cities speak openly on this subject, speaking of the necessity to conduct subversive activities; relevant structures are being formed, personnel for acts of sabotage, radical propaganda is recruited and trained."

Putin said the actions evidently aim at "rocking the situation, hindering normal life of people, the social and economic development of the region."

"It’s necessary to take into account all these risks and react in a proper way - for both federal and local power bodies," the president said. He noted that "nothing should be exaggerated or fomented, but it’s necessary to keep everything in mind and be ready and react promptly."

The meeting on coordination of activities of law enforcement bodies of the Russian Federation and local authorities of the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol to ensure law and order on the peninsula was attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, presidential administration chief Sergey Ivanov, and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov, Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin, a number of government members and regional officials were also present.

Putin calls for strengthening border control to prevent drug trafficking and smuggling into Crimea

The president said it is necessary to strengthen the border control in Crimea to prevent drug trafficking and imports of illegal products.

"I ask you to take measures to increase the customs and other types of control at the checkpoints," he said. "We are talking about terminating drug trafficking and preventing imports of low-quality or illegal products into Crimea," the president said.

According to the president, greater attention should be paid to compliance with law during the transportation of passengers and cargo.

Putin suggested discussing at the meeting the issues pertaining to compliance with law and order on the peninsula and seeing how the federal and law enforcement agencies cooperate with the local authorities in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, "what additional decisions and measures are needed in this direction.".

Criminogenic situation in Crimea under control 

Putin noted that the criminogenic situation in Crimea is under control. 

"In general, the criminogenic situation on the peninsula is under control," Putin said stressing that this is the result of efforts made over the last 1.5 years on integrating Crimea into Russia’s legal system and strengthening law enforcement agencies.

"Along with that, the current situation demands utmost concentration and attention from everybody, effective preventive work in several different spheres," the president added.

Crimea's reunification with Russia

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 first 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.

According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.

Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.

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