MOSCOW — Vedzhie Kashka, a diminutive 83-year-old Crimean Tatar activist who collapsed during a Russian security operation and died hours later, was buried on Friday in a funeral ceremony that drew mourners from across Crimea.
The Ukrainian government and other Crimean Tatar activists sharply criticized Moscow, saying its heavy-handed tactics were responsible for Ms. Kashka’s death.
President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine said the incident showed that “the only form of protection for the Crimean Tatar people is the liberation of Crimea from occupation,” Interfax-Ukraine reported.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 reignited decades of tensions over the property and civil rights of Crimean Tatars, who were deported en masse from the peninsula in 1944 after Stalin accused them of cooperating with Nazi forces. Most began moving back after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Refat Chubarov, a Crimean Tatar leader who was banned from Russia after the annexation, told the Pryamyi television channel that Ms. Kashka had fallen ill while her home was being searched on Thursday, though that was contradicted by other reports. She died some time later in the hospital.