Half a million Russians already resettled to occupied Crimea

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After the treacherous aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russian occupiers have turned the peninsula into a military base and continued a targeted policy of changing its demographic structure by displacing Ukrainian residents and replacing them with Russians.

“The occupiers have turned Crimea into a military base, and any Russia’s action, in particular, any infrastructure project, has an obvious military purpose. Even the roads they have built in Crimea are designed to strengthen their military presence. Russia has doubled its military presence, they have modernized military components in the air, at sea and on land, they now have six submarines, which is more than enough to control the entire Black Sea,” First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar said during a live broadcast organized by the Atlantic Council on Tuesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

According to the Ukrainian diplomat, another peculiarity of Russian occupiers’ behavior is the active colonization of the peninsula happening right now.

“They [occupiers] displace the Ukrainian population from Crimea. On the other hand, they bring Russian citizens there. We have different estimates, but even according to Russian statistics, some 100,000 Russians have arrived to live in Crimea. The unofficial number is five times higher. We believe that at least half a million Russian citizens are already in Crimea, and this is certainly a huge threat to national security [of Ukraine],” Dzheppar stressed.

As noted, these issues are very sensitive for Ukraine as Russia uses demographic cleansing as its “classic” tool to cover up crimes. The occupiers organize psychological terror for the local population, conduct arbitrary arrests and systematic searches with the sole purpose of intimidating people, depriving them of their freedom to resist and to express their opinion.

Russia’s occupation of Crimea has become a crime, a violation of international law and humanitarian law, including a violation of hundreds of bilateral and multilateral agreements with Ukraine.

First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reminded that Russian aggression resulted in the occupation of about 7 percent of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea and Donbas. About 14,000 Ukrainians have been killed in the war in Donbas, and another 40,000 people have been wounded over the seven years of the war.

“Russia’s aggression has led to displacement of more than 1.45 million people in Ukraine, including those who left Crimea. We claim that there may be up to 60,000 internally displaced people, but this is not the accurate statistic as many Ukrainians considered it discriminatory to register as refugees on their own land. We believe that the number of Ukrainian citizens who left Crimea is higher,” Emine Dzheppar added.

© 2020 Ukrinform News

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