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Kremlin Allocates $58 Million for Medical Tourism to Crimea

The Russian government on Friday allotted 2.2 billion rubles ($58 million) for medical tourism to Crimea in a bid to salvage the tourism industry in the annexed Ukrainian territory.

The money, assigned to the state Social Insurance Fund, will make it possible to send 75,000 people to the Black Sea resort's sanatoriums, according to the governmental decree.

Crimea, a popular resort in Soviet times that had been part of Ukraine since 1954, was annexed by Russia in March.

In addition to triggering sanctions against Moscow and the peninsula, the annexation has crippled Crimea's tourism industry, previously driven by Ukrainians.

Even official estimates forecast 3 million tourists in Crimea this year, compared to 6 million in 2013, RBC news website said in late August.

Russians cannot easily reach the peninsula, which has no land connection to Russia, leaving the local airport and ferry line sorely overloaded.

The Crimean tourism industry stands to lose up to 90 billion rubles ($2.3 billion) this year, said last week.

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