The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Leader of Russia-backed Crimea to visit Syria

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BEIRUT: The leader of Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, visited Syria Monday, the pro-government newspaper alWatan said. Russia-backed Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov will stay in Damascus for two days. The delegation was welcomed at the airport by Syrian Economy Minister Mohammad Samir Khalil. “We have truly friendly relations. I’m sure that the visit will be fruitful and we will leave with good practical results,” Aksyonov said. Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria’s seven-year long conflict. The leaders of two other Russia-backed breakaway regions, Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia, also visited Damascus this year. Crimea has been under Western sanctions since 2014.

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