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Published: Thursday February 27, 2014 MYT 3:55:06 PM
Updated: Thursday February 27, 2014 MYT 3:56:08 PM

Russia to 'uncompromisingly' defend rights of compatriots - Foreign Ministry

Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede as a flag of Crimea is seen during clashes at rallies held by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014. Thousands of pro-Russia separatists tussled with supporters of Ukraine's new leaders in Crimea on Wednesday as tempers boiled over the future of the region following the upheaval that swept away President Viktor Yanukovich. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede as a flag of Crimea is seen during clashes at rallies held by ethnic Russians and Crimean Tatars near the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol February 26, 2014. Thousands of pro-Russia separatists tussled with supporters of Ukraine's new leaders in Crimea on Wednesday as tempers boiled over the future of the region following the upheaval that swept away President Viktor Yanukovich. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will defend the rights of its compatriots in a "strong and uncompromising" manner, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, as tensions rose in Crimea, the only Ukrainian region with an ethnic Russian majority.

"Russia's Foreign Ministry will continue to defend in the international arena the rights of its compatriots, it will strongly and uncompromisingly react when they are violated," the ministry said on its Twitter microblog.

The ministry said "large-scale human rights violations" in Ukraine were a cause for concern.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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