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Putin Slams NGO Warning Russians Over Visiting Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused an embattled consumer rights group that has cautioned Russians against traveling to Crimea of "serving the interests of foreign states."

Putin was speaking on June 23 at a session of Russia's Public Chamber, a Kremlin advisory body, a day after Russia's state media watchdog announced that it had blocked the website of the Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights.

The Prosecutor-General's Office, meanwhile, has launched a probe against the nongovernmental organization, which is not on the Justice Ministry's list of foreign agents.

The group published a notice last week warning Russians of potential problems if they travel to the "occupied territory" of Crimea, which it said is still a part of Ukraine according to international agreements.

The group's chairman, Mikhail Anshakov, said the memo was released following multiple complaints from Russians unable to get a Schengen visa after travelling to the Black Sea peninsula, which Russia annexed in March 2014.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP