Rival pro-government and pro-Russian demonstrators held simultaneous rallies outside the parliament in Simferopol, the capital of automonous Crimea. Meanwhile, Russia has put ist troops on alert near Ukraine's borders.
Two Crimean Tatar activists sentenced for political activities by Russian authorities have been freed after an intervention by Turkey's president. The men were jailed as Moscow clamped down on the separatists.
The court found the Tatar leader guilty of "separatism" for calling on Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine. Ukraine has called the verdict "illegal and politically-motivated."
In a DW interview, Crimean Tatar council chair Refat Chubarov criticizes German FDP party head Christian Lindner, whose proposal for addressing the Crimea conflict, he says, could spell disaster for Chubarov's people.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier is making the first visit to Russia by a German president since 2010. It may look like a diplomatic olive branch, but Moscow and Berlin can hardly expect a normalization of relations.
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