On Thursday, May 18, a rally in memory of the victims of the Crimean Tatar people deportation was held in Kyiv. Nearly thousand people with Crimean Tatars national flags gathered on the main Kyiv squire.

Participants sang Ukrainian and the Crimean Tatar anthems before the mourning rally started.

Mufti of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine Sheikh Said Ismagilov and the Chairman of the Association of Muslims of Ukraine Sheikh Suleiman Khayrullaev served a pray (dua) in memory of the deportation victims.

“Today we pray for the Deportation victims, for the early return of the Crimea in many mosques. Allah gave his native land to each nation. Crimea is the native land of the Crimean Tatars and their heart”,  Ismagilov said, addressing the audience.”

Slogans “Crimea is a Homeland of the Crimean Tatars”, “Crimea is Ukraine”, “Millet, Vatan, Qirim!” sounded in breaks between speeches.

The leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev emphasized that the Crimean Tatar people fought against the Soviet regime for their return to their homeland for decades.

According to him, the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 was an attempt on the existence of the whole nation in the name of “Russian world” expanding.

“Those days it was openly reported in the newspapers that the decision of the party and government was to make Crimea a Russian region. And therefore were ethnic cleansings, genocide”, Dzhemilev stated.

The leader of the Crimean Tatars also noted that today the Crimean Tatar people feel support from the world community and Ukrainian state.

“The world is different now. When the Soviet regime deported dozens of nations, the civilized world was occupied with its post-war problems. Now Ukraine and the whole civilized world are together with the Crimean Tatar people... The occupier will be expelled from our territory; the invader will definitely answer for all crimes against the Ukrainian state and the Crimean Tatar people. And let the souls of the innocently murdered ones inspire us to struggle for the restoration of our rights”, Mustafa Dzhemilev said.

The Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov reminded about recent arrest of veterans of the national movement of the Crimean Tatars Server Karametov and Nariman Dzhemilev, Server Izmailov, that occurred on May, 18 in the Simferopol main square, as they came there with national flags.

“In the Crimea, hundreds of thousands of people look at us. Every day they monitor what happens in Kyiv and look forward for the last Russian occupier to leave the Crimea. Today thousands of Ukrainians gathered with the Crimean Tatars. I thank everyone for such support to the Crimea that we show together,” Chubarov said.

During the rally, people held placards with appeals to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to adopt amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine for the establishment of the Crimean Tatar autonomy. A flag with the national symbols of the Crimean Tatar people – a tarak-tamga – and a commemorative inscription for the Remembrance Day of the deportation victims were on the main stage of the rally near the Independence stele.

Reference. May 18, 1944 Crimean Tatars deportation began in the Crimea. Soviet power accused the whole nation of cooperation with Nazi Germany during World War II. Thousands of Crimean Tatars were taken to Central Asia. During the trip and the first year of exile more than 30,000 people died from hunger and disease. Crimean Tatars were allowed to return to their homeland in the Crimea only in 1989.

On November 12, 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a resolution recognizing the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as genocide of the Crimean Tatar people. In October 2016 Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea initiated the investigation into the deportation of the Crimean Tatars.