The fifth springtime Taurida-2003 motor rally on the Moscow-Crimea route started off in the Russian capital on Friday. Taking part in it are about 30 crews, who will have to cover about 1,500 kilometres. The rally is to finish on May 10, RIA Novosti was told at the rally's organising committee.
Organised as part of Russia's Year in Ukraine programme, the rally is designed to strengthen friendship and cooperation between the two countries, as well as between Moscow and Crimea, to popularise and promote technical types of sport, and to develop motor tourism and the leisure industry in Crimea.
The rally is being covered by travelling journalists of leading Russian motor, tourist and news media, including RIA Novosti.
The main task of rally participants is, while observing all traffic rules, to clock required times in passing checkpoints and finish in Crimea with a minimum of penalty points.
Rally participants on May 1 will cross the Russian-Ukrainian border and on May 2 stage an intermediate finish in Simferopol (Crimea), for a planned one-day stopover. On May 4, the caravan will proceed further south on the Simferopol-Yalta route. After calling at some Crimean towns, the motorists will arrive in the hero city of Sevastopol on May 8 - on the eve of Victory Day.
On May 9, the racers will take part in Victory Day celebrations in Sevastopol, lay down wreaths at monuments to those who fell for their country, and congratulate veterans of the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against German Nazism. On May 10, they will leave for Moscow.
Deputy Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Russia, Lubos Vesely, was among 20 diplomats, who were expelled from the Russian Federation