Putin said to have granted award to Belarusian militant in Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted an award to a citizen of Belarus who played a role in the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea by Russia this past March, reported the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

Uladzimir Karatkevich, a 26-year-old Belarusian man, is one of the foreigners who visited Crimea as Russia’s “secret tourists,” the report said. Judging by his photographs on a social networking website, Mr. Karatkevich took an active part in attacks on administrative buildings and military units in Crimea, the newspaper said. Apart from the president’s honorary certificate, he has received a medal of the Russian defense ministry, the report said.

The newspaper claimed to have obtained a list of Russians who had been secretly rewarded for their clandestine activities in Crimea. They include prominent members of political party United Russia, soccer fans, nationalists and people with long criminal records.

The newspaper insisted that dozens of people had seen the award ceremonies and could confirm the report. //BelaPAN