By Paul Goble
In an appeal to the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine who are meeting in Berlin tomorrow, Refat Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, says that “a threat to the very existence of [his] nation hangs over it in [Russian] occupied Crimea.”
The Crimean Tatar leader notes that the day the three are assembling in Berlin will be the 542nd since Russia’s special operation put before the world a fait accompli by the occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, an operation that continues there and in “bloody battles” on the territory of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts (facebook.com/meclis.org/posts/680822552019984).
“For 542 days,” he writes, “Ukrainian society has been living under conditions of a de facto war with Russia against Ukraine, in the course of which many thousands of people (civilian and military) have been killed, tens of thousands wounded, and more than 1.5 million forced to leave their homes.”
In Russian-occupied Crimea, Chubarov continues, “a direct threat to the very existence of the Crimean Tatar people, the indigenous people of Crimea hangs over it,” because the Crimean Tatars opposed and continue to oppose Russia’s illegal Anschluss as do the majority of the countries of the world as expressed in the March 27, 2014, UN General Assembly resolution.
Despite that resolution and other calls by the UN, the EU, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, Russia has continued its illegitimate occupation. As a result, “the tragic position of the Crimean Tatars is worsening from day to day.” The occupiers have blocked the return of the leaders of the Crimean Tatars to their homeland.
Moreover, “dozens of young Crimean Tatars were forcibly seized, some of whom were later found murdered while the fate of others remains unknown. Hundreds of activists of the Crimean Tatar national movement have been subjected to repression by the punitive organs of the occupation administration of Crimea.”
“History has laid on you and together with you the leaders of other sovereign states,” Chubarov continues, “a colossal responsibility not only for the fate of your own peoples and your own countries but also and without any exaggeration and pathos for the future of all of humanity.”
“Human civilization which survived in the 20th century the mortal threats of the fascist and communist regimes cannot and musts not again become the hostage of irresponsible actions of the rulers of the Russian state who have violated all norms of international law and ignored the right of people to freedom and peace.”
“It is impossible to sacrifice individual countries and peoples to such an aggressor, he concludes, reminding the world that “the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar peoples having suffered the catastrophe of the Holodomor and Deportation have the right to all-possible assistance and support from the international community of which they are a part.