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Open Letter to the European Union and NATO Officials Regarding the Anniversary of the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy

Mr Donald Tusk
President of the European Council

Mr Antonio Tajani
President of the European Parliament

Mr Jean-Claude Junker
President of the European Commission

Ms Federica Mogherini
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission

Mr Jens Stoltenberg
Secretary General of
North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Mr Paolo Alli
President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly

19 June 2017

Open Letter to the European Union and NATO Officials Regarding the Anniversary of the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy

Your Excellencies,

We, the relatives of political prisoners of the Kremlin, experts, civil society activists and human rights defenders, highly appreciating the position of the EU and NATO in counteracting the aggressive policy of Russia in the international arena, appeal to you.

This year marks the anniversary of a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, adopted by the European Council on 28 June 2016. In its strategic paper, the EU recorded non-recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and promoted “human rights through dialogue and support, including in the most difficult cases”. (quotation)

Among such cases are human rights violations in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia, unlawful arrests, detention and tortures of the Ukrainian citizens who opposed Russian occupation (list of persons, citizens of Ukraine, unlawfully arrested or detained by the Russian regime is in the Annex).

The NATO Warsaw Summit Communiqué, issued on 8-9 July 2016, states that “Russia bears full responsibility for the serious deterioration of the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula”. The European Parliament in its resolution of 16 March 2017 mentioned the responsibility of the occupational authorities for the political persecutions, unlawful arrests, tortures of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian activists, violation of the right to freedom of expression and the press in Crimea.

While appreciating these approaches of the EU and NATO, we encourage you not only to continue the policy of sanctions against Russia for its actions in the occupied territories of Ukraine, and particularly in Crimea, but also strengthen the sanctions regime, the possibility of what has been stated in the G7 Communiqué on the results of the May 2017 G7 summit in Taormina. In our view, it is necessary to transform correct words from the EU and NATO papers into concrete actions. As the past years showed, just words are inefficient for the Kremlin. Being convinced that any action by the West would be limited only by verbal rhetoric, it continues to ratchet up repressions and ignores demands of the international organizations. Unfortunately, numerous statements of Western politicians about solving all the problems only through a dialogue with Russia and expediency to review / mitigate / cancel the sanctions are a wrong message to the Kremlin because it is perceived solely as a sign of weakness of the EU and NATO.

We, the relatives, colleagues, human rights defenders of the Kremlin’s political prisoners repressed by the Russian regime, urge you to “mainstream human rights”, as stated in the EU Global Strategy. Therefore, further imposition of personal restrictive measures against the leadership of Russia responsible for egregious human rights violations as well as sectoral sanctions, are necessary.

The EU has a strong non-military force that it has not involved yet. We encourage you to use its soft power to force the aggressor to peace and release of political prisoners in the occupied territories of Ukraine. In our view, sanctions should include:
– freezing of personal assets of the Kremlin kleptocracy, including Putin’s family members and his “circle of friends”, in the Western financial institutions;
– gradual replacement of Russian crude oil, petroleum products, gas and coal imports into the EU by those from the non-Russian sources;
– refusal of Russian projects of non-transit gas transportation systems like the Nord Stream 2 project by the EU and its member states.

Nothing is so expensive as life and freedom. Russia should feel it. We hope that the human rights and freedoms are still values for western politicians and dominate approach of “business as usual”. Edmund Burke wrote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. For us, the Ukrainians, whose family had been burnt by the flame of Russian aggression, NATO and the EU remain the last citadels in the fight against today’s Mordor – the repressive Russian regime.


On behalf of Association of the relatives of the Kremlin’s political prisoners

Ihor Kotelyanets, Coordinator

On behalf of Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People

Centre for Civil Liberties Olexandra Matviichuk,
Head of board

Crimean Human Rights Group Olga Scrypnyk, Head of board

Media Initiative for Human Rights Maria Tomak, Coordinator

Institute of World Policy Alyona Getmanchuk, Director

Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy
Natalya Belitser, Expert

Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”
Mykhailo Gonchar, President

Ukrainian Center for Independent Policy Resea
Yulia Tyshchenko, Program Director

NATO-Ukraine Civic League
Serhiy Dzherdzh, Head

“Euromaidan Press”Alya Shandra, Managing Editor

“Black Sea Security” magazine
Pavlo Lakiichuk, Assistant Managing Editor



Crimean citizens are recruited into the Russian army in violation of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of WarOn 30 July, 2017 another action was held in Sevastopol calling to serve under the contract in the Russian army. The citizens of Sevastopol again were recruited for military service. At the so-called “point of selection for military service on a contract basis” they distributed booklets with agitation to serve in separate coastal defence brigade 126 and in landing ships brigade 197 of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. Agitation was held in Sevastopol during the celebration of the day of the Navy on Nakhimov Square. According to the Crimea.Realii website, an exhibition of land military equipment was held on the same square; The exhibition included: a mobile coastal anti-ship missile system “Bastion” with a unified homing missile “Yakhont”, a mobile command and staff radio station, a floating wheeled armoured personnel carrier, an anti-aircraft missile system S-300 “Favorit” for the destruction of modern and prospective aircraft, a 122 mm missile-antiaircraft complex Grad, a multiple launch rocket system “Uragan”, an anti-aircraft missile system “Pantsir”, an air defence missile system “Osa”, a charging car, a self-propelled artillery “Gvozdika”. According to Russian media, the occupation authorities held a naval parade in the city, where military a demonstration fire was organized. The event began with the entrance of the three-masted sailing frigate “Khersones” to the Sevastopol Bay, at which students of the Ukrainian University (Kerch State Maritime Technological University) earlier had a maritime practice. According to local and Russian media, the training ship “Perekop”, missile cruiser “Moscow” and the diesel-electric submarine “Stary Oskol”, as well as the naval aviation Ka-27 helicopters and Su-30SM fighters, also took part in the military parade. Such actions of the Russian Federation in the territory of Ukraine, which was occupied by it, grossly violate international humanitarian law and are prohibited by international conventions. The Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG) earlier recorded the holding of similar agitation events for military service in the Russian army in the occupied peninsula. We remind you that Article 51 of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War explicitly prohibits the invocation of an occupying power in the occupied territory. The head of the CHRG, Olga Skrypnik, noted that among other things the Convention prohibits propaganda of the military conscription in the occupied territories, including all the advertising posters, various “patriotic” events in schools and universities where people are called to go to the Russian army. Both contractual and regular service are under the ban. Photos of the mobile point of military drafting and promotional booklets were made on 30 July in Sevastopol.

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