A top foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin who spent a decade behind bars told thousands on Kiev's main protest square Sunday that the Kremlin colluded with Ukraine's ousted regime in violence claiming 100 lives.
Yasuo Takamatsu, 57, grunts with the effort of hoisting a scuba diving tank onto his back, as he prepares to step into the cold waters off Japan's tsunami-ravaged coast to look for the body of his wife, one of thousands still missing three years on.
Russian flags flooded Lenin Square in the centre of Crimea's capital Simferopol Sunday as thousands rallied in support of Moscow's takeover of the peninsula -- vastly overwhelming a smaller pro-Ukraine demonstration nearby.
Victims of Stalin's mass deportations in 1944, Crimea's Tatar Muslim minority look warily on next week's referendum on joining Russia, which could well bring the crisis on the tense peninsula to new heights.
Russia has deliberately sunk three of its own ships to block Ukrainian navy vessels entering a lake off the Black Sea, officers say, highlighting Moscow's determination to wear down the morale of Kiev's forces in Crimea.