Russia's Chief Mufti Rawil Gaynetdin (C) attends the Kurultai, the assembly of Crimea Tatars, in Bakhchisaray March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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The Crimean Tatars' assembly voted on Saturday in favour of seeking "ethnic and territorial autonomy" for the indigenous minority on the Black Sea peninsula annexed from Kiev by Moscow.The 300,000-strong Muslim minority make up less than 15 percent of Crimea's population of 2 million and has so far been overwhelmingly opposed to Russia's annexation of the peninsula. Critical of Russia's annexation of Crimea, the Tatars boycotted the March 16 vote to split from Ukraine and become part of Russia.Ravil Gaynutdin, the head of Russia's Council of Muftis, and Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of Tatarstan, a largely Muslim region in Russia, tried to persuade the Crimean Tatars to side with Moscow.Chubarov told Reuters earlier this week the assembly was considering whether to hold a referendum to decide whether Crimean Tatars should consider themselves part of Russia or Ukraine.
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