SIMPFEROPOL, Ukraine -- The Russian consul in Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea has resigned amid a controversy caused by his recent comments regarding the deportation of Crimean Tatars during World War II .
Vladimir Andreyev told journalists on May 24 that he was resigning in protest over the stand taken by the Russian Foreign Ministry on the issue.
In an interview with a local television company aired on May 21, Andreyev said that any talk about the deportation of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia and Siberia by Joseph Stalin in 1944 "should include the issue of Tatars' collaboration with Nazi occupants and treason."
Crimean Tatars' leaders condemned Andreyev's statement, saying he tried to justify the deportation, during which tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars died.
On May 23, Russia's Foreign Ministry said that Andreyev's statement "included incorrect elements on a very sensitive issue."
With reporting by UNIAN and Interfax