Trump repeats calls for Russia to be allowed back into the G7

The Republic of Crimea is a small peninsula between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. 

In February 2014, Russia, under Putin’s watch, took control of it from Ukraine in a violent take-over which saw Kremlin-backed troops descend on the region. 

Police officers arrest a protester in Moscow, March 2, 2014, during clashes over Russia’s annexation of Crimea

The majority of Crimea’s 2million residents speak Russian and had voted to join Russia officially in a referendum but the vote was deemed illegal by Ukraine and by the rest of the West. 

There also remained a huge portion of the population who consider themselves Ukrainian and not Russian, along with the Crimean Tatar population – a predominantly Muslim community who suffered under Russian leaders in the past. 

The dispute sparked violent clashes in the area and was condemned internationally. 

President Obama slammed Putin’s seizure of it as ‘illegitimate’ and he slapped sanctions on Russia as a result. 

At the time, Putin was part of the G8 but its leaders moved to expel him in response. 

In a statement at the time, they said it went against the principles of the international community. 

The region had been fought over for years. 

From 1793 until 1954, it was part of Russia. In the 1950s, it was transferred to Ukraine by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. 

During Russia’s control of it, particularly in the years of Stalin’s leadership, Crimean Tatars were persecuted. 

Stalin believed they had worked with German occupiers and sent many of them in exile to parts of Asia.