Authorities in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea have temporarily lifted coronavirus pandemic restrictions to mark the seventh anniversary of the region's annexation by Moscow.
The Russian-imposed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, signed a decree on March 15 to allow the ceremonies. The decree was placed on the website of the occupational government.
According to the decree, events organized by the pro-Kremlin Night Wolves bikers' club, as well as patriotic events at schools and military schools are allowed to be held on March 18.
In addition, local self-governing bodies are allowed to hold their own events to mark the date.
The restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Crimea were imposed a year ago.
Russia illegally took control of Crimea from Ukraine seven years ago after sending in troops, seizing key facilities in February 2014, and staging a referendum weeks later that was dismissed as illegitimate by at least 100 countries.
Moscow also backs separatists in a war against Ukrainian government forces that has killed more than 13,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.