Leader of Russia-backed Crimea to visit Syria

Leader of Russia-backed Crimea to visit Syria
FILE PHOTO: Sergei Aksyonov, the head of Crimea, waits before an annual state of the nation address attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov -
Maxim Shemetov(Reuters)
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BEIRUT (Reuters) - The leader of Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, is to visit Syria on Monday, the pro-government newspaper al-Watan said.

Russia-backed Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov will visit Damascus for two days.

Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-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 it was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington, editing by Louise Heavens)

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