Russia celebrated the one-year anniversary of taking Crimea peninsula from Ukraine on Wednesday with an open-air concert in the centre of Moscow, where crowds were addressed by Vladimir Putin.
The country’s president said the Russian people had shown “amazing patriotism” by supporting taking Crimea, which Moscow regards as a “historical return”.
“We understood that in terms of Crimea it was not a matter of just some territory, however strategically important it is,” Putin told the crowd on Wednesday. “It was a matter of millions of Russian people, our compatriots, who needed our help and support.”
Rossia 24 television was broadcasting live from the scene as performers took the stage and members of the crowd sang along.
The channel did not show Putin live on stage and only showed a clip that lasted less than one minute of his speech.
A year after Crimea's unification with Russia, Putin admitted in a documentary aired on Sunday that Russian soldiers were involved in a well-planned operation to take Crimea.
Crimea joined Russia a year ago, following a local referendum on region's status condemned illegitimate by UN,EU and US.