Russia's Putin discusses Crimea with Crimean Tatar

by Reuters
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 15:59 GMT

MOSCOW, March 12 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed the situation in Ukraine's Crimea region by telephone with a leader of the Crimean Tatar community, Russian news agencies reported on Wednesday.

Many Crimean Tatars plan to boycott a Russian-backed referendum on Sunday on whether the region, where Tatars make up about 12 percent of the population, should split from Ukraine and join Russia.

Tatars, like many ethnic Ukrainians on the peninsula, are strongly opposed to falling under the control of Russia and want be governed from Kiev. Some Tatars have joined demonstrations calling for "national unity".