Over the weekend dozens of Crimean Tatars and locals took part in commemorations in mainland Ukrainian cities including Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine Today reports.

After being accused of collaboration with the Nazis during the World War II, tens of thousands of the deportees died in 1944 on their way to a distant exile, and also in the several subsequent years.

Crimea’s indigenous population mostly boycotted a pseudo-referendum on the issue of Crimea seceding from Ukraine which was orchestrated by the Kremlin in the early spring of 2014, shortly after Russian troops in unmarked uniforms, also known as “little green men” occupied military bases and government buildings.

Since then, some Crimean Tatar activists have been kidnapped and murdered, national leaders have been denied reentry to the peninsula, while the world’s only Crimean Tatar TV Channel ATR has been forced to shut down. Today, the fear is growing in the Muslim minority group of further repressions under the Russian occupation authorities.

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