A Crimean court has sanctioned a decision by Ukraine's security service to deport the former leader of the autonomous republic of Crimea and ban him from entering Ukraine for five years.
Yury Meshkov, president of Crimea from February 1994 to March 1995, called on July 7 for Crimean residents to hold a referendum on independence from Kiev.
Meshkov, a Russian national, also called on them to take up arms to achieve independence. He was deported to Russia on July 13.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday it hoped that Meshkov's expulsion was not a campaign against ethnic Russians or stability in Crimea.
"Taking into account other campaigns against Russian citizens in Ukraine, we hope that this activity is not aimed at boosting negative emotions on the peninsula and will not affect Russian-Ukrainian relations," the statement said.