“The war began ten years ago in the Ukrainian Crimea, where russian occupation troops illegally entered Ukrainian land for the first time,” the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine stressed. He noted that on 26 February, the citizens of our country gathered on the main square of Simferopol to say “no” to the occupation and support the territorial integrity of Ukraine – this is how the resistance began.

“Back then, we had no idea what russia was capable of doing for the sake of its regime's imperial delusions. International law and human rights ceased to exist on the peninsula. During the years of occupation, Crimea has become a territory of lawlessness,” said Ruslan Stefanchuk, reminding the participants of the Conference about illegal detentions, searches, murders, disappearances, unfounded convictions on trumped-up charges, total restrictions on civil and political rights, freedom of speech and assembly.

At the same time, he noted that the Crimean Tatar community, which overwhelmingly opposed the russian occupation, is a particularly vulnerable group in Crimea: “The ban on the Mejlis, the murder, abduction and imprisonment of its leaders and activists, and the systemic pressure on the entire Crimean Tatar community in general, is the reality that has existed on this land for ten years. Despite this, the resistance has not stopped for a single day.”

“The world's response to the occupation of Ukrainian Crimea and Donbas was not sufficient to deter the kremlin regime from taking further more aggressive steps,” said the Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine, adding that the occupation of Crimea and russia's attempted annexation in 2014 became a springboard for further attacks and a full-scale aggressive war against our country in 2022.

In addition, he stressed that today more and more countries around the world are beginning to understand that russia will not stop at Ukraine, just as it did not stop at the occupation of Crimea. Therefore, repeating the mistakes of the past today will cost the world incomparably more.

“Our task is to convey this simple truth to the world and build a coalition of our allies,” said Ruslan Stefanchuk, adding that the International Crimean Platform has become an important element of these efforts and has allowed us to systematise the work on various platforms. The Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine assured that the Parliament of Ukraine, for its part, is also developing this front through parliamentary diplomacy.

The Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament said that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Ukrainian Defence Forces have disabled approximately 33% of the warships of the russian Black Sea fleet. The grain corridor has also been unblocked, and Ukrainian grain is now being transported through the Black Sea to those who need it. “russian military targets in Crimea are regularly attacked, and Ukrainian drones are increasingly finding targets on the peninsula. The occupier no longer feels safe on Ukrainian soil,” said Ruslan Stefanchuk.

In conclusion, he stressed that these are real steps towards the demilitarisation of Crimea, and expressed his conviction that this demilitarisation will continue until the complete destruction of the occupation forces in Ukrainian Crimea: “The struggle will certainly bring us victory, we will restore our territorial integrity and achieve a just and sustainable peace on our land.”

 

 

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