May 9 - Russian President Vladimir Putin marks Victory Day with his first visit to Crimea since it was annexed from Ukraine in March. Nathan Frandino reports.
Accompanied by a show of military strength on Victory Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Crimea. During his first visit to the region since it was annexed by Russia in March, Putin congratulated soldiers under full pomp and circumstance. As military aircraft flew over Sevastopol Bay, Putin disembarked from his vessel to give thanks to veterans. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYING: "We hold you as an example, our dear veterans, and there is a big moral input on your side in that Sevastopol and Crimea are back to Russia. You transferred to us the great values of unity, fairness, solidarity. You taught us to act according to our conscience. The generation that grew up in Sevastopol has always acted according to those values." Putin told the crowd that 2014 would be as significant as the siege of Sevastopol 70 years ago. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "I am sure that 2014 will go into the history (of Sevastopol), in the history of our whole country, as the year when all the citizens here, the people resolutely decided to be together with Russia." Kiev called Putin's visit a provocation intended to escalate the crisis. The city marked the holiday with a full military parade, showing off its troops and tanks. Victory Day marks the anniversary of Germany surrendering to the Soviet Union in 1945.