Crimea was, is and will be an integral part of the Ukrainian state and the country-criminal will be forced to return the loot. Sooner or later, this will happen no matter how long the de-occupation of the peninsula will last. Such crime as annexation has no limitation period. However, we use the term “annexation” only as an international legal definition of the issue. Speaking more emotionally and figuratively, it is better to use the word “Anschluss”. Historical parallels are too expressive and absolutely relevant here.
The annexation was not sudden. Russia has been preparing for the seizure of Crimea since 1991. In the course of the first twenty years, the Ukrainian authorities have been aware of this threat and underestimated it. And those who started ruling the country in 2010, like a real fifth column, facilitated Russians in their preparation to the seizure of Crimea, first of all, ruining the defense infrastructure of the entire Ukraine. They are the first to bear responsibility for the temporary loss of Crimea and Sevastopol.
I say “temporary”, for I am confident that we will certainly return these two administrative territories under the Ukrainian sovereignty. This extremely complex and promising process has already begun.
Today, I have instructed to organize a special session of the National Security and Defense Council to clarify our strategy for the reintegration of Crimea. I expect the Cabinet of Ministers to provide a detailed schedule for the protection of Ukraine’s national interests in the international courts and holding the country-aggressor accountable to Ukraine and Ukrainian private companies.
In addition, I require the Government to submit the issue on temporary regime of special customs protection along the line of administrative border between Kherson region and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as well as the energy strategy on Crimea, for consideration by the NSDC.
The Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are instructed to submit proposals for substantial enhancement of military capacity of Ukraine in Kherson region and along the entire Black Sea coast. Russia has increased its military presence in the region, completes the peninsula’s transformation from a flourishing international resort into a big military base, which poses a nuclear threat not only to Ukraine, but also to all countries of the Black Sea region.
It is obvious that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays a leading role in ensuring political and diplomatic conditions for the return of Crimea, filing the aforementioned lawsuits and preserving the regime of international sanctions against Russia, which has become a result of its aggression against Ukraine in Crimea and Donbas.
It is natural that Ukraine does not recognize and will never de jure recognize residents of the peninsula who received Russian passports as Russian citizens. Russian citizens do not live in Crimea. It is inhabited only by Ukrainian citizens. Our people live on our territory, which is temporarily occupied.
Until the return of Crimea to its historically determined place within Ukraine, our key task is to protect citizens’ rights and freedoms in Crimea and provide support to any source of legitimate resistance to the Russian occupants and their local “goblins-puppets”.
Occupation authorities in Crimea carry out massive violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, make people acquire Russian nationality, implement a deliberate policy to change the composition of the population and press out ethnic Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and other ethnic minorities, destroys the Ukrainian language and persecutes Ukrainian language speakers. Ukrainian churches also face persecution.
Ukraine will resolutely defend collective rights of cultural and religious communities on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, particularly the rights of ethnic Ukrainians, as well as indigenous peoples – Crimean Tatars, Krymchaks and Karaites, other national minorities, all Ukrainian patriots who did not recognize the occupation regime and carry out resistance in every possible way. We will broadly involve international organizations for the protection of their rights, including the right to protest.
Kyiv will take every action to keep the issue of illegal occupation of the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol on the agenda of the European and global politics as an unprecedented violation of the international law since the World War II.
The main precondition for reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory is the faster economic development of Ukraine, its democratic institutions and human rights protection mechanisms, as well as the increase in the level and quality of life.
I am grateful to all Crimean residents who do not break their civil and spiritual contact with true Homeland – Ukraine despite extremely difficult conditions of the authoritarian regime and persecution of dissent.
I am particularly grateful for the resistance of courageous and long-suffering Crimean Tatar People, the Mejlis and its leaders started on February 26, 2014.
Support provided last week by the entire Ukraine to a prominent Crimean Tatar daughter Jamala became a national recognition of their role. She has got my vote as well.
It seems as if Moscow tries to return Crimean Tatars back in 1944. Kyiv, albeit belatedly, realized the necessity of creating the national autonomy of Crimean Tatars in Crimea with a full guarantee of equal rights and civil liberties of ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and other ethnic groups of the peninsula.
Everything will be as it should be in a European country.
This war will be finished for Ukraine only when the leg of the last invader leaves the sacred Ukrainian land in Donbas and Crimea. But we must be strong and steadfast in our faith for that.
Crimea is not Russia. Ukraine is not Russia.
Crimea is Ukraine. Ukraine is Europe.
Glory to Ukraine!