Moscow, Aug 19: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday arrived in Crimea where he is due to attend a security meeting amid heightened tensions in the region. Putin’s visit to the peninsula comes days after he accused Ukrainian military troops of attempting to infiltrate Crimean territory, leading to a confrontation that allegedly left two Russian servicemen dead, EFE news reported. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denied the allegations, saying they were “just a pretext for another portion of military threats against Ukraine”.
Following the alleged incursion, Putin refused to participate in further bilateral diplomatic meetings. In recent days, both the countries have increased military presence on either side of the isthmus that demarcates the contested border between Crimea and Ukraine.
Putin’s visit also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the 1991 attempted coup in the Soviet Union, which is widely considered to have marked the beginning of the collapse of the union. The redrawing of the political borders after the collapse of the USSR saw some ethnically Russian territories including Crimea, integrated into the newly independent former Soviet republics such as Ukraine. Putin described the break-up of the bloc as “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the last century”. (IANS)