The theme of Crimea in the world: condemning Russia’s actions and supporting Ukraine’s efforts

Photo Ukrinform

After the founding summit of the Crimean Platform, the theme of the occupied Crimea has not left the international agenda. The first decade of October was also full of discussions about Russia’s violations of human rights on the peninsula, its militarization and the holding of illegal “elections” to the State Duma of the Russian Federation. This was discussed at the highest international platforms – the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly and at the Ukraine-EU summit.

On October 12, the 23rd Ukraine-EU summit was held in Kyiv. The presidents of Ukraine, the European Council and the European Commission – Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen – discussed many issues, including the theme of peace in Ukraine and the de-occupation of the part of Donbas and Crimea seized by Russia. At the end of the summit, a joint statement was adopted.

“We reiterated our strong condemnation of the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. We do not recognize and continue to condemn the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol by Russia, the increasing militarisation of the peninsula, the severe deterioration of the human rights situation there, as well as restrictions of the freedom of movement for Ukrainian citizens to and from the Crimean Peninsula” – said in a joint statement by the participants of the summit.

In the document, the EU representatives made the following accents on the Crimean issues:

– condemned the holding of “elections” to the State Duma of the Russian Federation (September 17-19) on the territory of the occupied Crimean peninsula;

– called on Russia to provide international organizations and human rights defenders with unhindered access to the Crimean peninsula, and to respect international humanitarian law. In this context, called for the immediate release of all illegally detained and imprisoned persons on the Crimean Peninsula and in Russia, including Crimean Tatar activists;

– welcomed the establishment of the International Crimean Platform launched at the Summit that took place on 23 August in Kyiv, and supports the implementation of the Joint Declaration the EU and its Member States signed up to;

– condemned the Russian decision to close parts of the Black Sea to non-Russian military and state vessels and we call on Russia to refrain from impeding the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms;

– agreed on the importance to coordinate international efforts to strengthen resilience to growing threats to security and stability in the Black Sea Region;

Also, the statement once again reflects the call to the Russian Federation to withdraw Russian troops and equipment from the eastern border of Ukraine and from Crimea.

“We remain deeply concerned about the presence of Russian military equipment and personnel in the non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine and unprecedented large-scale military build-up close to its border with Ukraine and in the illegally annexed Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. We strongly urge Russia to meet its commitments under the Vienna Document, and to provide more transparency and to credibly explain the deployment of military forces and equipment in these areas” – noted in the document.

UN General Assembly

On October 11, on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, an online briefing on the topic “Security policy, the situation in the Black and Azov Seas, as well as in the Kerch Strait region: existing and new challenges” was held. It was held in the context of Ukraine’s submission to the current session of the UN General Assembly of an updated draft resolution “Problem of militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black and Azov Seas”. The event was attended by about 50 UN member states.

In his speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Mykola Tochytskyi noted that there is still a danger in Crimea associated with the seizure of former nuclear weapons storage facilities. In addition, the movement of nuclear weapons delivery vehicles to the territory of the peninsula is recorded. Mykola Tochytskyi also spoke about the numerous violations by Russia of the safety of navigation and the rights of Ukraine as a coastal state in the Black and Azov Seas. On these and other issues, active intervention of the UN member states is required. Mykola Tochytskyi recalled that international efforts to de-occupy Crimea as a whole are being implemented within the framework of the Crimean Platform, which is open for the accession of new countries.

Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anatolii Petrenko provided detailed information on the current state of the ground, air and sea components of the Russian troops in the occupied Crimea and in the Black and Azov Seas.

Director-General of the Directorate General for International Security of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Volodymyr Lakomov and his deputy Kateryna Bila drew attention to certain aspects of the Russian occupation of Crimea and the Black and Azov Seas, in particular in the military and nuclear spheres.

The participants of the event expressed support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and also noted the importance of an appropriate response to threats and challenges to regional security that exist and arise as a result of illegal actions of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied Crimea, in the Black and Azov seas. 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council

From September 14 to October 11, the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council was held in Geneva. First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova noted that the visit to Geneva was very eventful and active. During numerous events with the participation of the Ukrainian delegation, negotiations, dialogues, Crimea and Donbas were in the spotlight.

During the four weeks of the session, delegates reviewed more than 90 reports. Among them is the regular report of the Office of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Ukraine. The document was prepared by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which has been working in our country since the first days of Russian armed aggression.

On October 4, Emine Dzhaparova made a joint statement on behalf of 40 states on the human rights situation in the temporarily occupied Crimea.

Key points of the joint statement:

– condemnation of gross violations of human rights by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied Crimea;

– support of the Crimean Platform;

– an appeal to the Russian Federation to comply with its obligations, in accordance with the norms of international law, and condemnation of any attempts by the Russian Federation to legitimize the annexation of Crimea;

– condemnation of the holding of “elections” to the State Duma of the Russian Federation (September 17-19) on the sovereign territory of Ukraine without the consent of the Ukrainian side and non-recognition of the results of these “elections”;

– strong condemnation of politically motivated searches and detention of Crimean Tatars, in particular: Eldar Odamanov, Asan and Aziz Akhtemov, Shevket Useinov, First Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Nariman Dzhelyal;

– the need for the Russian Federation, as an occupying state, to comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law and in the field of human rights. In particular, restore the human rights of all residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea, immediately and fully comply with the order of the International Court of Justice dated April 19, 2017 on the resumption of the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and the end of the oppression of the Crimean Tatars;

– support for the territorial integrity, political independence and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and willingness to work together for the sake of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea.

The statement was joined by: Ukraine, Austria, Australia, Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, USA, Turkey, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Switzerland, Sweden. At the 48th session, the Ukrainian delegation continued to work on attracting countries and international organizations of the human rights direction to the activities of the Crimean Platform and to achieve the goals it defined.