Russian President Vladimir Putin is slated to visit Crimea from Saturday, March 16, to Monday, March 18, amid the anniversary of the 2014 Russian annexation of the territory. Heightened security measures and traffic disruptions are to be anticipated around related celebratory demonstrations and rallies across Russia beginning on Friday, March 15, including in Moscow, as well as in the Crimean cities of Yalta, Sevastopol, and Simferopol.
Also, notably, a Ukrainian nationalist group is planning to stage a demonstration at Independence Square in Kyiv on Saturday - the timing of Putin's visit to Crimea may inspire escalated unrest during the protest, and clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out around this or other demonstrations in Russia, Ukraine, or the disputed Crimean Peninsula.
Tensions have been particularly high between Russia and Ukraine since Russian forces opened fire on three Ukrainian navy ships in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018. On November 28, martial law was implemented in eastern and central Ukraine in response to these events.
Since March 18, 2014, the Crimean Peninsula has been administered as de facto Russian federal territory.
Individuals in Russia, Ukraine, and the disputed Crimean Peninsula are advised to monitor developments, avoid protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to instructions issued by the local authorities. Avoid discussing politically sensitive topics in public or on social media.
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