Members of Huddersfield’s 100-strong Ukrainian community have blasted Russia for annexing Crimea.

The Ukrainian territory on the Black Sea will be absorbed into Russia following a referendum in which it is claimed 97% of Crimeans voted to join Russia.

Britain has suspended all arms exports to Russia amid fears there is a “grave danger” of military escalation in Ukraine.

The UK has also stopped all military cooperation with Russia, including the cancellation of a naval exercise, after Moscow pushed ahead with the annexation of Crimea, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

See the pictures below from earlier in the year from amateur Huddersfield photographer Chrissy Eastwood.

 

The EU and US have declared the referendum illegal and have also imposed sanctions on Russia.

Ukrainian-born Denis Dumskyj, of Bradley, said Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s actions were like that of the infamous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

And Mr Dumskyj, who has lived in Huddersfield since 1967, believes Crimea is unlikely to be reunited with Ukraine.

Huddersfield mum Chrissy Eastwood home after a visit to riot-torn city of Kiev  

Mr Dumskyj, originally from Ternopil, western Ukraine, said: “It’s shocking what’s going on. Mr Putin has no right to invade a sovereign state. Putin waited for his moment when Ukraine was destabilised.

“Crimea belongs to the Tatars. Stalin deported them to Gulags (forced labour camps) and very few came back.

“It feels like Stalin and the USSR over again...

“I don’t think Ukraine will get Crimea back and for the sake of peace I don’t think Ukraine would try.

Mr Putin won’t listen to Ukraine as he hasn’t listened to other world leaders.”

Mr Dumskyj, 86, moved to Britain in 1947.

He worked in agriculture before working as a product buyer for an engineering firm in Greetland.

Ukrainians, who had been deported to Germany after the Nazi invasion, were allowed to return to Ukraine or to emigrate to Britain after World War Two.

Having suffered terribly under Stalin during the 1930s – Stalin killed up to 7.5m Ukrainians through deliberate starvation and forced labour between 1932 and 1933 – many chose the second option.

The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain was set up in 1946 and a Huddersfield branch was opened in 1948.

The branch has met at Edgerton Road since 1965.

Mr Dumskyj added: “Everyone at the club finds this very upsetting, even those from the second and third generations.”

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