Crimean leader blasts Ukraine for escalating tensions near border

The head of the Crimean Republic says that Kiev deliberately undermines peace by deploying units manned with nationalist radicals near the border. He added, however, that the situation in Crimea is calm and controllable.

“They have placed gunmen from the Right Sector [an ultranationalist Ukrainian group outlawed in Russia] and the so-called Crimean Tatar Battalion near the Crimean border. The border regions have become a cesspool of extremism and terrorism,” Sergey Aksyonov wrote on his Facebook page after attending a joint session of Crimean and federal counter-terrorism committees.

Aksyonov said that the situation in Crimea remains calm and controllable, but listed the military conflict in southeastern Ukraine and mass migration from these regions to Russia as the main challenges that security agents have to deal with.

In mid-August, Lenur Islyamov – a leader of the ‘Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People’ group, which Crimea banned as extremist in April of last year – announced that he had founded a volunteer Crimean Tatar battalion for the purpose of capturing Crimea by military force. The Crimean directorate of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has opened a criminal case regarding the move.