Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Crimea's Tatars that they must accept that their future lies with Russia, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of their mass deportation from their ancestral homeland, Guardian reports.
Speaking after meeting Crimean Tatar representatives in Moscow, Putin said: "Today we must all realise that the interests of the Crimean Tatars today are tied to Russia."
He said: "We are ready to work with all people" but added: "None of us can allow the Crimean Tatar people to become a bargaining chip in disputes … especially in disputes between Russia and Ukraine."
“I should call your attention to one thing. We, including the federal authorities, regional and local power bodies, are ready to work with all people who genuinely, I would like to note that specially, want to improve the life of people on their land,”- Putin added, ITAR-TASS reports.
Meanwhile, Crimea's prime minister issued a decree forbidding all public demonstrations in Crimea until 6 June, saying the ban was necessary to avoid "provocations by extremists" and "disruption to the resort season".
The decree came 2 days before annual rally commemorating Stalin's deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944.