A rally in support of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people has been held at the Independence Square in Kyiv today.

The Crimean Tatars, representatives of international and Ukrainian human rights organizations, Ukrainian MPs and civil society activists gathered to show their support for the Mejlis.

About a hundred people with Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags rallied at the central square of the capital, a QHA journalist reports

Riza Shevkiev, a member of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and Director General of the "Crimea" public charity fund opened the event. In his speech, he appealed to all international institutions to assist in protection of the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of the annexed peninsula.

“At this moment they are holding a dishonest court to ban the activity of the Mejlis, the executive body of the Crimean Tatars, in Crimea. Thus, they want to ban the Crimean Tatar people,” he said.

Riza Shevkiev also urged to tighten economic sanctions against the aggressor.

The speaker of the MFA of Ukraine Mariana Betsa noted that the Foreign Ministry will do its utmost to protect the Crimean Tatars at the international level.

“Today I also a Crimean Tatar, because what is happening today in the occupied Crimea is illegal and unacceptable. We call on Russia to end its repression against the Crimean Tatars. We are going to convey the information about all these crimes to the United Nations,” she said.

The Coordinator of the civil blockade of Crimea Lenur Islyamov considers that the protection of the Crimean Tatar people is dependent on their own initiative.

“Your hearts should be filled with a spirit of  patriots who will not be ashamed to look into the eyes of their grandchildren,” he stressed.

The Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov addressed to his compatriots in their native language. Speaking to media, he said that neither the Crimean Tatars, nor the Ukrainian people will ever accept the annexation of Crimea.

 “After today's decision more than two and a half thousand Crimean Tatars fall under the status of extremists. But we are ready for this decision; all Crimean Tatars remain faithful to their land, their people and Ukraine.

The participants of the rally also held a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the shootings of Jews in Babiy Yar.

Additionally, the human rights activists of the Amnesty International has begun collecting signatures in support of Ilmi Umerov, Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, who was recognized a prisoner of conscience, and Ervin Ibragimov, a member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars, who became a victim of enforced disappearance in May, 2016.

The event in Kyiv takes place simultaneously with the court session in Moscow, seeking to make the final decision to ban the representative body of the Crimean Tatars.

The organizers said that such rallies are expected to be held today in various countries outside of the Russian Federation Embassy buildings.

On April 26, the so-called Supreme Court of the Crimea banned the Mejlis in the territory of the Russian Federation and annexed Crimea.

Ukraine intends to challenge the decision of the Russian Federation to ban the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in the European Court of Human Rights.