Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed a working trip to the annexed Crimea scheduled for July 16 to attend a keel laying ceremony of new Russian warships, said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
According to Peskov, Putin will instead hold a meeting in Moscow on the upcoming budget process.
"Today there have been changes in the president's working plans. The previously announced trip to Crimea and participation in the keel laying ceremony of new warships will take place on Monday," Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
Peskov added that Putin will work in his residence in Novo-Ogarevo on July 16.
Peskov announced Putin's visit to the annexed peninsula on July 15. According to him, the Russian president was to take part in the keel laying ceremony of warships for the Russian Navy in Kerch.
After that, the Russian authorities of Kerch reported the active cleaning of the city - utility workers collected household garbage, cleaned urns, swept the sidewalks, cleaned the foliage of the rainstorm after the recent rain.
Putin last visited the annexed peninsula on March 18. Then, he came to Sevastopol. Before that, on January 9, the Russian president also visited Sevastopol. Putin observed the joint exercises of the Russian Northern and Black Sea Fleets in the Black Sea from the board of the missile cruiser "Marshal Ustinov." On January 10, the Russian President held a meeting in Yalta with the Kremlin-controlled leaders of Crimea and Sevastopol on the issues of "social and economic development of the peninsula."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine protested against the next uncoordinated with Kyiv arrival of Putin in the annexed Crimea.
In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.
On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.
International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.