Crimea in the Speech of President of Ukraine at the UN General Assembly

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during his speech at the General Debate of 73rd session of UN General Assembly emphasized that Russia shall feel the strength of the rule of international law and bear responsibility for its crimes. To this end Ukraine has filed a series of lawsuits against Russia in international courts. According to him, the decision of the International Court of Justice on activities on Mejlis of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimean peninsula is among them.

“In the beginning of 2017 the International Court of Justice ordered Russia to lift the ban on activities on Mejlis – representative body of Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea. However, Russia continues to ignore the ruling demonstrating its disregard not only to its international obligations but to the Court as well,” – Petro Poroshenko emphasized. Russia, after occupation, turned the Crimean peninsula into its military base, which became a threat not only for Ukraine, but also for the entire Black Sea region, President Petro Poroshenko said.

It has been almost four years since Russian illegal occupation and attempt of the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Under Russian occupation, Crimea has turned into a military stronghold threatening security and stability in the entire wider Black Sea region, – the President said in his speech during the General Debate of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.

Petro Poroshenko stated that since the first day of the illegal occupation of Crimea, Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians have faced repressions and discrimination. “There are many cases of murders, tortures, harassment and arrests under fabricated charges. The list of hostages and victims of the Russian occupation regime in Crimea is getting longer almost every day. The Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar identities seem to be a criminal offence in today’s reality of the occupied peninsula,” – the President of Ukraine said in his speech.

“Crimean farmer Volodymyr Balukh was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison for raising a Ukrainian flag upon his private residence. Crimean film director Oleg Sentsov remains behind the bars in a remote penal colony in northern Russia serving a 20-years prison term on fabricated charges,” – Petro Poroshenko noted. According to the President, both illegally imprisoned and sentenced Ukrainian patriots went on a hunger strike and are balancing between life and death. The President stressed that Ukraine is grateful to the world community for supporting its attempts to free the Kremlin hostages held in Russian prisons, in Crimea and in the occupied territories.

President Petro Poroshenko warns that after occupation of Crimea, Russia aims now at occupation of the Sea of Azov. The Head of State urged to cease illegal violations, in particular systematic disruption of freedom of international navigation through the Kerch Strait for Ukrainian and foreign ships due to the illegal construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait.At the same time, the President noted that ensuring responsibility was never an easy feat: “Let me be clear on this point: Nothing will stop Moscow from continuing its aggressive expansionist policies if it does not face a united stand of the international community, if punishment for its actions does not become inevitable,” – the Head of State stressed.

“It is due to the lack of relevant punishment that after Georgia came Ukraine, that after Lytvinenko came Skrypals, that after Aleppo came Idlib… Kremlin has no intention to stop. After occupation of Crimea, it aims now at occupation of the Sea of Azov,” – Petro Poroshenko emphasized. “Having illegally constructed a bridge across the Kerch Strait, Russia launched a systematic disruption of freedom of international navigation through the Kerch Strait for Ukrainian and foreign ships. Such brutal actions must be rejected as illegal, including under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. They require a strong response, including an enhanced sanctions policy and other targeted measures,” –  the President of Ukraine said.