MIP: On February 26th, the IV International Forum 'The Occupied Peninsula: Four Years of Resistance' Held in Kyiv

Opening the event, Viacheslav Kyrylenko, the Vice Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, noted: “We all – the President, the Government, bodies of executive power – do our best so that Crimea does not feel abandoned, so that no one in the world could ever think that the occupation and annexation are of lawful nature.”

Iryna Herashchenko, the First Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, assured: “The Government’s position is well known: we must fight for people, for the Crimean Tatars, for Ukrainians remaining in the occupied territories. All political prisoners who said they are Ukrainians must receive assistance. This topic is still on the top of the agenda.” Also, according to her, now there are attempts at the forcible holding of the presidential elections in Crimea, with international human rights organization being barred from entering.

Refat Chubarov, the Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, announced that “[n]ow two million citizens are held hostage by the Russian Federation. The working group, established by the constitutional group, successfully worked in May and drafted a document to amend the Constitution.” “Sanctions are not enough to bring Russia back into the framework of international law. The deployment of peacekeeping forces is paramount for the country, given that their actions are clearly controlled,” he assured.

“We must fight against getting used to the occupation,” noted Rebecca Harms, co-president of The Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament. She stressed that “it is necessary to raise recurrently the issue of the occupied peninsula, of gross human rights violations, which take place in the peninsula on a daily basis. The persecution of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians in Crimea strikingly attests to the fact that the peninsula has been taken over by Russia due to the occupation but not the free expression of the will of its inhabitants.”

Marie Yovanovitch, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ukraine, said: “The United States keep the Crimean issue on the top of the agenda, Special Representative of the State Department Kurt Volker stressed the need of progress in the Crimean issue if Russia wants to settle its conflict with the international community. Crimea-related sanctions will remain valid until the peninsula is liberated.”

Yuriy Stets, the Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine, added that MIP had taken on information reintegration of Crimea. “This includes not only the Strategy of Action we drew up, but also permanent news topics, events, open platforms to decide on further steps. We have united everyone who are key players in returning Crimea. We are becoming a country which acts as a role model to others in terms of returning own territories.” The Minister added that today’s event was the fourth of its kind that MIP made international.

In his address, Pavlo Klimkin, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, noted: “My optimism is based on the fact that international communities such as NATO, the UN, the EU provide much assistance and remain on Ukraine’s side. The MFA does its best so that the international community will not get used to Crimea being an occupied territory. We are seeking to bring this matter to a close once and for all. At every international gathering we raise the issue of Crimea and encourage states to deal with it.”

It should be noted that the Fourth International Forum ‘The Occupied Peninsula: Four Years of Resistance’ was held as part of MIP’s national communication campaign. In addition, a photo exhibition was opened, a film about political prisoners was presented, the board campaign ‘The Kremlin’s Prisoners’ was carried out, brochures ‘The Kremlin’s Prisoners’ (in English, French, German, Turkish) and a public social video ad were produced.