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Vladimir Putin Marks Moscow's 'Victory Day' with Visit to Crimea

Fri, 09 May 2014 17:30:09 +0000

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine) -- Few people had been treated with such fanfare since the Beatles landed in the United States half a century ago -- until Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was greeted with a welcome fit for a homecoming king when he arrived in Crimea Friday for the first time since Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine.

His visit coincided with Victory Day, the annual celebration when Moscow flexes its military muscle in Red Square to celebrate the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Putin, known for enjoying outdoor activities shirtless, instead wore a shirt and tie as he paraded around the port city of Sevastopol. Adoring crowds lined the harbor and square, hoping to catch a glimpse of the steely leader, who spoke to onlookers through a microphone.

A half-dozen warships were anchored in the harbor. Some people in the crowd wore Putin T-shirts, while others waved Russian flags.

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