The Kyiv Institute of International Relations hosted a public lecture devoted to Ahtem Chiygoz, Deputy Head of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars, illegally arrested in Russian-occupied Crimea. During the lecture, Mustafa Jemilev, Commissioner of Ukrainian President on Crimean Tatars Affairs, recalled the events that unfolded before the annexation of Crimea.

“For many people, it was a complete surprise that the country-member of the UN Security Council, a signatory to the Budapest Memorandum, appeared to be the aggressor and violator of international law. However, even after August 2008, when the Russia had invaded the territory of South Ossetia, the Mejlis made a statement that Crimea could be the next. We then proposed to the central Ukrainian authorities to break the Black Sea fleet's lease, purge the state authorities in Crimea and strengthen the Crimean peninsula with Ukrainian troops in an amount of not less than 20 thousand. But no one did it. The Black Sea fleet's lease was extended for another 25 years and things went exactly the opposite with the advent of Yanukovych,” said Jemilev.

He also reminded that the Russian Federation had been issuing Russian passports for Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea for several years, at non-interference of Ukrainian authorities.

“People sign reads: Russian passports are always followed by Russian tanks,” Jemilev joked sadly.

The lecture was also attended by Refat Chubarov, Head of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars, and Emine Dzheppar, Adviser to the Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine for Crimea.

Photo: QHA