25/02/14 05:26 CET
| updated xx mn ago
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Several Russian MPs arrived in Crimea, the pro-Russian peninsula of Ukraine, over Monday night.
They were welcomed by two Crimean MPs.
The Russian MPs from the Liberal Democratic party delivered the message that Crimeans could claim Russian citizenship.
Former Soviet leader Khrushchev gave the region to Ukraine in the fifties as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. The area still has strong ties to Moscow and many Crimeans are fearful of losing this identity.
Anatoli Mareta, a Cossack and protester from Crimea said:
“Right now, I think that Ukraine is in an expectant mood. Well, we hope that if anything starts here like it did with the war in Ossetia, that Russia won’t stand on the sidelines.”
In 2008, Russia claimed it was protecting its citizens in Abkhazia and South Ossetia when it stepped into the war with Georgia.
The Russian MPs have also said that if Crimeans prefer to rejoin Russia, the decision will be rubberstamped by Moscow.
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