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Putin, in Crimea, hails ‘return to Motherland’

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MARIUPOL, Ukraine — President Vladimir Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to the Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO.

Putin hailed the incorporation of Crimea into Russia as “return to the Motherland” and a tribute to the “historical justice and the memory of our ancestors.” The peninsula of 2 million people had been part of Ukraine from 1954 until March.

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