On 18-20 May 1944, more than a quarter of a million of Crimean Tatars fell victims of Stalin’s USSR criminal policies. Deportation of Crimean Tatars has become a dark page in world’s history, crime of the Soviet system that targeted a series of USSR nations; among them were Crimean Tatars – whose children and elderly were accused of “treason”. But the reality was quite different. In its fight against the Nazis, not only legendary Crimean Tatar servicemen such as Amet-Khan Sultan, but many other Soviet soldiers – Crimean Tatars, bravely fought. Their names are forever enshrined in the glorious pages of the Memory Book of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and WWII warriors.
Pain and suffering of the Crimean Tatars during deportation in 1944 are repeated 70 years later – during Russia’s occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. The occupying power falls into Stalinist repressions against Crimean Tatars and their leaders, bans Mejlis as a single supreme representative and executive body of Crimean Tatars, carries out illegal searches, politically motivated persecutions of activists and groundless accusations of Crimean Tatars of extremism and terrorism.
Russian Federation, having occupied the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol in February 2014, aims to squeeze out of the peninsula anyone who publicly condemns Kremlin’s illegal actions, rejects forced Russian passportisation and attempts to preserve their language, religious and cultural authenticity. These are the principles predominantly respected by the overwhelming majority of Crimean Tatars. Policies enforced by Russian occupation authorities have led to the following: since Crimea’s occupation more than 20,000 Crimean Tatars have fled their homes and settled in Ukraine’s mainland in search for a better life. Mejlis was forced to relocate its activities to Kyiv.
Ukraine pays tribute to memories of victims of 1944 Crimean Tatars genocide and calls on the international community to continue political and diplomatic pressure on Russian occupation authorities to avoid any repetition of 1944 tragedy, to cease immediately violations of fundamental human rights in Crimea and, eventually, - deoccupy the Peninsula and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.