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Thousands rally for Russia in Crimean capital

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Thousands of supporters of Russia gathered at Simferopol's Lenin square in Ukraine's Crimea on Sunday in support of an annexation of the region by Russia. During a traditional seasonal concert, the crowd listened to speeches announcing the Crimean Spring with Russia. Crimean and Russian flags over the crowd as a Russian Black Sea Fleet band played patriotic songs. The rally comes exactly a week before a March 16 referendum on annexation. Sergei Tsekov, the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, told the crowd, "We will be happy in one week's time because we will do what we have been waiting to do for many many years," in reference to the upcoming referendum to join Russia. Russian forces have tightened their grip on Crimea despite a U.S. warning to Moscow that annexing the southern Ukrainian region would close the door to diplomacy in a tense East-West standoff. Russian for

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