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Russia's Putin warns of 'sabotage' plots against Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Crimean officials to be on the alert for acts of sabotage by foreign-trained elements. 

"It's obvious that a risk remains from outside forces to destabilize the situation on the [Crimean] peninsula in one way or another," Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting on regional security in Crimea's naval port city of Sevastopol.

Putin, who is on his third visit to Crimea since it rejoined the Russian Federation after breaking away from Ukraine in March 2014, said several countries which were hostile toward Russia are recruiting and training people to act as saboteurs in Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with an unidentified Russian naval officer as he visits the Sevastopol Presidential Cadet Academy in Sevastopol, Crimea, on August 19, 2015. (AFP PHOTO)

"In certain capitals they talk openly about ... the need to carry out subversive activities," in Crimea, the Russian president warned. "Personnel are being recruited and trained to carry out subversion, acts of sabotage to conduct radical propaganda."

Putin said foreign powers might arouse "nationalistic" sentiments in the people, or manipulate the public opinion, by relaying to them the notion that the authorities were “ineffective in their activities,” and thus guide their energies into "a destructive channel."

Crimea rejoined the Russian Federation by a landslide vote on March 16, 2014. However, the breakaway from Ukraine angered both the government in Kiev and its Western allies.

Moscow has been accused of having a role in the rejoining of Crimea and fueling unrest in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin rejects the allegation.

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