MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) – Crimea is back in its “home port” after a long and difficult journey, the Russian president told a crowd of about 120,000 people, who gathered in Moscow’s Red Square to show their support for the breakaway peninsula.
The Black Sea peninsula with a Russian ethnic majority signed a reunification treaty with Moscow after a referendum in which some 96.7 percent of voters backed joining Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine.
“After a difficult, long and exhausting journey, Crimea and Sevastopol have returned to Russia – to their home harbor, their home shores, their home port,” Vladimir Putin said.
He thanked Crimean residents for their “clearly expressed will to be a part of Russia.”
The “We Are Together” rally and concert began at 18:30 Moscow time [2:30 p.m. GMT] and ended an hour and a half later.
The Moscow city police department said in a statement that it gathered about 120,000 people, including activists of various political parties and public organizations.