Russia bans Tatar leader from flying to Crimea: official

Crimean authorities said on Friday they had banned the leader of the peninsula`s pro-Kiev Tatar community from flying to the Kremlin-controlled territory, claiming he wanted to destabilise the situation there.

AFP| Last Updated: May 02, 2014, 23:23 PM IST

Kiev: Crimean authorities said on Friday they had banned the leader of the peninsula`s pro-Kiev Tatar community from flying to the Kremlin-controlled territory, claiming he wanted to destabilise the situation there.

Ukranian lawmaker Mustafa Dzhemilev, who is hugely respected by the Crimean Tatar minority, had attempted to fly to the peninsula`s main city of Simferopol via Moscow, said a statement from the local authorities.

"There is no doubt that Western security services have tasked this person with destabilising the situation," local leader Sergei Aksyonov said in the statement posted on Facebook.

He accused the Tatar leader of looking after "his own interests" by seeking to travel to Crimea at a time when Kiev is locked in a confrontation with rebels in the southeast.

Early Friday, Kiev authorities launched a military assault on the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk which saw pro-Mosow rebels shoot down two helicopters and two Ukrainian servicemen lose their lives.

Aksyonov said Crimean authorities would not allow the Soviet-era dissident to foment unrest among the Tatar ethnic minority.
"No one seeking to visit us with ill intentions will be allowed in," he said.
Crimea`s 300,000 Muslim Tatars, who make up around 12 percent of the peninsula`s population, largely boycotted a disputed March referendum in which the pro-Russian majority chose to split from Ukraine and join Russia.