Russian PM Medvedev visits Crimea to discuss social and economic development

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting of the government in Moscow March 27, 2014. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Crimea on Monday, March 31, 2014, the first Russian leader to travel to the Black Sea region after Mosc
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting of the government in Moscow March 27, 2014. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Crimea on Monday, March 31, 2014, the first Russian leader to travel to the Black Sea region after Moscow seized it from Ukraine.  -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Crimea on Monday, the first Russian leader to travel to the Black Sea region after Moscow seized it from Ukraine.

"Am in Simferopol. Today the government will discuss the development of Crimea," Mr Medvedev wrote on Twitter.

He arrived in Crimea's main city Simferopol at the head of a major delegation of ministers and deputy prime ministers and was set to chair a meeting on the social and economic development of Crimea after its incorporation into Russia, Russian news agencies reported.

The Russian government said in a statement that Mr Medvedev would discuss "current questions of social economic development of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol".

He was accompanied by officials including powerful First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

Mr Medvedev was also set to visit Sevastopol, where Russia's Black Sea naval fleet is based, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

It is the highest-level visit yet by a Russian government official to Crimea after its annexation by Moscow.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, visited Crimea last week to inspect troops and visit military facilities.