Kyiv, September 8, 2015. Since annexation of Crimea, two new laws have been introduced to the Ukrainian legislation. These are – the law “On citizens’ rights and freedoms and legal regime in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea” and the law “On creating ‘Crimea’ free economic zone and on economic activity on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine”. According to Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, the first law ensures influence of the Ukrainian Constitution over the peninsula, and thus provides protection and implementation of the national, cultural, social and legal rights on the temporarily occupied territory. “Instead every day we see evidence of pressure, detentions, searches and pogroms organized by the occupation authorities against the Crimean Tatars and other national minorities,” said Chubarov at a press conference at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We have political prisoners. That is Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis Akhtem Chyyigoz, activists Ali Asanov and Mustafa Dzhegermendzhy, Ukrainian patriots Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko. Besides that, people keep disappearing and two were killed,” added Chubarov. The second law allows Ukraine to deliver goods to the occupied territory with almost no obstacles. “According to the data provided by the Center for Investigative Journalism, over the last week 5, 777 tons of food arrived from the mainland to the peninsula. The total estimated value of all goods is 475 million dollars,” cited Chubarov. While there are daily crimes against people, Ukrainian businesses keep supplying food to Crimea. “We believe that this is wrong, because this way the Ukrainian state feeds those who occupied our land and supports Kremlin power, which now opposes Ukraine.” Experts have come to the common solution that is also supported by the Crimean civic activists. They want to stop supplying any goods from the mainland to the peninsula and this way blockade Crimea.
According to Mustafa Dzhemilev, the Crimean Tatars leader, it is not only a question of foodstuff. Ukraine supplies 85 percent of electricity and about 80 percent of water, especially irrigation water, to Crimea. “Before the occupation such costs were covered by tourism or business trips. Now Ukraine does not get anything,” said Dzhemilev. The only argument against the blockade is the moral aspect as there are still our people in Crimea. “This argument is ridiculous, because according to all international laws, it is the invader who must provide food, electricity and other benefits,” said Dzhemilev. Another argument I was informed of is that Ukraine supplies this food for its citizens in Crimea. “I can officially declare that is not true. 80 percent of those products are transferred to the Russian Federation across the Kerch Bay. After all, prices there are several times higher,” said Dzhemilev.
Lenur Islyamov, Vice President of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars, shares observations that Ukrainians started forgetting that last year Crimea was still a part of Ukraine. “I often hear that we are too weak to fight for Crimea. However, I am sure that we must return it,” said Islyamov.
Therefore, social activists prepared a number of demands from the Civil Crimean Blockade members: to release political prisoners, to stop interference in the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian media activity, to ensure foreign journalists and monitors’ access to Crimea, to stop criminal proceedings and administrative persecution of Crimean Tatars and other citizens of Ukraine, to lift the ban on entering Crimea for the Crimean Tatars leaders. According to Dzhemilev, they had been all previously discussed with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and will be further discussed in order not to violate any law of Ukraine. “We believe it is the only chance to return Crimea to Ukraine, because no negotiations with the invaders lead to solution,” said Dzhemilev. The headquarters of the Crimea Civil Blockade is located in Kyiv at Siedovtsiv Street, 22. This is a place for those who want to join the initiative. The Crimea blockade start date is currently unknown, but participants plan to go to the border with peninsula later this month.