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Crimean Tatars Block Land Access To Crimea


Hundreds of Crimean Tatars have blocked roads leading from the Crimea region to rest of Ukraine to protest Russia's March 2014 annexation of the Black Sea Peninsula.

The Crimean Tatars, backed by activists of the Ukrainian ultranationalist group Right Sector, blocked the roads on September 20, saying they were aiming to prevent supplies from reaching the region to protest "numerous violations of [Crimean Tatar] rights by the Russian authorities."

"Our goal is to end the occupation of Crimea and to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine," said one of the Crimean Tatar leaders, Refat Chubarov.

The entire Crimean Tatar nation was deported to Siberia and Central Asia by Josef Stalin in 1944, and they were only allowed to return in the late 1980s. Most of the 300,000 strong community opposed Russia's annexation of Crimea and more than 10,000 of them have since fled to the Ukrainian mainland.

De facto Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov told journalists the peninsula gets less than 5 percent of its supplies from Ukraine and will not feel the effects of any blockade.

With reporting from AFP and TASS
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