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Russian Official Warns Of Potential Destabilization In Crimea

The head of Russia's Security Council says Ukrainian nationalism and economic pressures could destabilize the security situation on the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine two years ago.

"This is mainly connected with political challenges and economic pressure from our Western opponents," Nikolai Patrushev said in the Crimean city of Yalta on March 21.

Patrushev said Kyiv could seek to destabilize the peninsula by using the "nationalism factor."

He added that extremists, nationalists, and paramilitary groups were forming on the Ukrainian mainland near Crimea.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the seizure of Crimea as a long-awaited moment of "historic justice."

Crimea's annexation via a referendum in March 2014 was widely seen as illegitimate by the international community and followed a military takeover of the Black Sea peninsula.

Based on reporting by dpa, Interfax, and TASS