The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has protested Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest visit to Ukraine’s Crimea region, calling a it a “gross violation” of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Attempts by the Russian side and the mass media to describe such ‘visits’ as ‘ordinary’ domestic trips by Russian officials are futile,” the ministry said in a statement on August 11, adding that Crimea was an “integral part” of Ukraine.
On August 10, Putin was shown on state television in a leather jacket at a biker show organized by the Night Wolves motorcycle club in Sevastopol, a city in the Crimean Peninsula that Moscow seized in 2014.
The Night Wolves club is known for its allegiance to the Kremlin.
Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 after Moscow-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was pushed from power by the pro-European Maidan protest movement the previous month.
Moscow has also fomented unrest and backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, where more than 13,000 people have been killed in the ensuing conflict since April 2014.
Putin’s visit to Sevastopol took place as tens of thousands of opposition supporters gathered in Moscow to demand fair municipal elections. More than 250 people were detained by police.