KIEV – A leading figure in the Crimean Tatar minority has been barred by Russia from returning to the peninsula following its annexation by Moscow, the Tatar community’s assembly said Tuesday.
In an online statement, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People said Mustafa Dzhemilev, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and the former chairman of the Mejlis, had been handed a notice banning him from Russia for five years as he crossed back to mainland Ukraine after a weekend in Crimea.
It came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin made a gesture of goodwill toward the Crimean Tatars, many of whom wanted to remain Ukrainian citizens, by signing a decree ruling their mass deportation by Stalin in the 1940s was illegal and guaranteeing autonomous rights for them and other minorities.
A Turkic-speaking, Muslim community, long present on the Black Sea, Tatars make up about 12 percent of Crimea’s 2 million population.
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