The Russian media have issued reports claiming the Crimean Tatars declared full support for Russia’s foreign policy, unanimously backing Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It is also reported that the Crimean Tatars are ready to participate in the “special operation” in Ukraine, RIA Novosti wrote. The report came following a nationwide congress of the Crimean Tatars, held on April 30. According to Russian media, more than 300 representatives of the Crimean Tatar people, including officials, deputies, and civic activists, took part in the event. The top issue on the agenda was adopting an appeal to support the course of the Russian president toward “de-Nazification’ and demilitarization of Ukraine.
In fact, Russia continues to promote narratives of allegedly full support for the aggression against Ukraine among the indigenous population of the occupied Crimea. On April 30, the occupying power, controlled by the Kremlin, held an ostentatious congress, where Crimean Tatars allegedly voiced support Russian aggression against Ukraine. According to the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Refat Chubarov, in order to present the congress as a massive event, Russia forcibly drove students of the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University, as well as budget-funded organizations, including teachers, to attend. Chubarov notes that this event has no political weight and fails reflect the real pro-Ukrainian position of the indigenous people of Ukraine – the Crimean Tatars.
With such showoff congresses, the Russian intelligence Federation will once again, albeit unsuccessfully, try to deceive the whole world by claiming that the Crimean Tatars are allegedly loyal to the policy of the occupying power, Chubarov said on his Facebook page.
In fact, since the Crimea grab, the Russian Federation has been constantly manipulating the topic of the Crimean Tatar people. On the one hand, an illusion of Russia’s multinational unity is being created, but on the other hand, in Crimea, Russian security forces are pursuing a policy of oppressing Crimean Tatars, massively arresting people for supporting Ukraine. According to CrimeaSOS , a local rights watchdog, as of April, 144 people are being subjected to politically-driven criminal prosecution in the occupied Crimea. Of these, 122 are being held prison. Most of those held are Crimean Tatars accused of extremism and terrorism. Applying false accusations, the Russian security forces in the occupied Crimea are purging Crimea of dissidents: charges are pressed against pro-Ukrainian residents speaking up against with the seizure of the peninsula and Russian aggression against Ukraine in general.
The situation became even more complicated after Russia seized more territories in southern Ukraine, where the Russian security forces continued their policy of violating the rights and freedoms of Ukrainians, including Crimean Tatars. The Russian Federation is now persecuting Crimean Tatars in Zaporizhia and Kherson regions where they are being illegally detained, abducted, and tortured.
According to the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Human Rights, Liudmyla Denisova, Ukraine has already applied to the UN Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations so that international experts take into account the facts of Russia’s violation of the rights of Crimean Tatars in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, along with other crimes Russia is committing against Ukrainians.
In addition, Ukrainian citizens residing in the temporarily occupied territory are being illegally drafted into the ranks of the Russian army. Such conscription is also a violation of both Ukrainian and international law. It is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Crimeans, whom Russia forcibly drafted into the occupying army, are victims of an armed conflict, not criminals.
That is, there is no unconditional support for the Russian “special operation,” or rather, a war of aggression, among the Crimean Tatars living on the territory of Ukraine, and there cannot be any. Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of Ukraine, supporting the territorial integrity of the country and categorically opposing the war that Russia unleashed.