Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea's largest city, Sevastopol, Saturday for the nine-year anniversary of Russia's declared annexation of the peninsula.
In Crimea, Putin is expected to participate in the opening of a cultural-historical monument, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
About Crimea: In 2014, thousands of Russian-speaking troops — dubbed “little green men” and later acknowledged by Moscow to be Russian soldiers — poured into the Crimean peninsula. Within days, Russia completed its annexation in a referendum that was slammed by Ukraine and most of the world as illegitimate.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to retake Crimea from Russia.
"It is not an intention, it is our land. Crimea is our sea and our mountains. Give us your weapons and we will regain (what is) ours," Zelensky said in January when asked during a panel at the Davos forum if he intends to retake Crimea.
Russia has blamed Ukraine for attacks in Crimea during the past year. A huge blast that damaged part of the bridge connecting the peninsula to Russia spurred heavy Russian strikes on Ukraine in October 2022.