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It's Ukraine vs. Russia at Rival Protests in Simferapol

Image: Pro-Russian supporters march with the Russian flag during a rally in Simferopol
Pro-Russian supporters march with the Russian flag during a rally in Simferopol March 8. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday the new Ukrainian government should stick to an agreement signed by the ousted president, signalling no change in Moscow's position over the Crimea crisis. VASILY FEDOSENKO / Reuters

Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters came face-to-face in the Crimean city of Simferapol on Saturday.

Image: Ukraine Crisis Continues As The Crimea Prepares To Vote In The Referendum
Pro-Ukrainian sympathizers waving Ukrainian flags and chanting "Russian Soldiers Out Of Crimea," "Glory To Ukraine" and "Crimea Ukraine" gather on March 8, in Simferopol, Ukraine. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Image: Pro-Ukrainian sympathizers hand gifts of cigarettes, chocolate and flowers to a Ukrainian soldier
Pro-Ukrainian sympathizers hand gifts of cigarettes, chocolate and flowers to a Ukrainian soldier standing inside a Ukrainian military base on March 8 in Simferopol, Ukraine. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Crimea is the only region of Ukraine to feature a Russian-speaking majority. Crimeans will face a stark choice when their region's future is put to a vote on March 16. The referendum will decide whether they should become citizens of Russia or to remain within Ukraine but with enhanced autonomy.

Image: Pro-Russian sympathizers bearing a Russian flag march past pro-Ukrainian sympathizers
Pro-Russian sympathizers bearing a Russian flag march past pro-Ukrainian sympathizers gathered and waving Ukrainian flags on March 8, in Simferopol, Ukraine. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

But while Crimea's population is 60 percent Russian, Saturday's rally showed that not everyone is thrilled by the apparent occupation of the strategic peninsula by pro-Moscow forces.

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