14:26 Aug. 9, 2016
Russia's military hardware, helicopters spotted along checkpoints between mainland Ukraine and annexed peninsula
Russian occupation authorities in Crimea asked tourists to abstain from travelling to the Black Sea peninsula for the next few days. This is reported by the Moscow-controlled administration of Kerch (the city in Russia-annexed Crimea).
"The Kerch Sea Ferry now operates in a peak load mode. Due to a large influx of tourists, the city administration warns that one can end up queuing up for the Crimea- Caucasus ferry route and waiting up to 10 hours", reads the statement.
On August 7, Russian occupation authorities suspended movement of cars and people at the administrative border between mainland Ukraine and the occupied Crimean peninsula.
Later it became known that convoys of Russian military equipment were ferried from Kerch to Crimea.
Also, on August 7, Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Mejlis Nariman Dzhelalov wrote on Facebook: "Witnesses report that large groups of Russian military hardware have been massed near Armyansk and Dzhankoy. Dzhankoy has been cordoned off by troops with tanks and other equipment."
On early August 8, only one checkpoint out of three between mainland Ukraine and the ocupied peninsula was opened.
Ukrainian authorities deployed more military equipment and forces to strengthen Ukraine's army units near the administrative border with Crimea in response to Russia's military activities in the area.
Crimea was seized from Ukraine by Russia in February 2014. Ukraine's Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) officially declared February 20, 2014, a beginning of Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Numerous world leaders strongly condemned the illegal annexation and launched a range of economic sanctions against Russia.
Despite the overall resentment, Moscow rejects the notion "occupation", naming its deeds instead "a renewal of historical justice".
On July 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin abolished the Crimean federal district by making Crimea and Sevastopol part of Russia's Southern federal district. Under the president's decree, the District now consists of Adygea, Kalmykia, Crimea, Krasnodar Territory, Astrakhan region, Volgograd region, Rostov region and Sevastopol. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed its protest over such a decision and stated that Crimea remains a Ukrainian territory.