In the cities of Crimea on June 24, 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the occupation authorities held a military parade of Russian troops and military equipment. The event was timed to the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II.
In Sevastopol, the parade was held along the central city ring, including Nakhimova Square. Many people came to see the event, without any observance of the necessary distance organized. Many people were without protective masks.
In Kerch, a military parade took place along Kirova Street and on Lenina Square. The venue of the parade was cordoned off by the Russian Guard and the police.
People were passed through the portal body scanners; and at first, those who came were checked for the presence of masks.. Those who did not have masks were given them free of charge. Later, the masks ended, and everyone was let to pass without masks. The distance between people was not respected, the audience crowded near the fencing of the road along which the Russian military equipment was running.
A military parade was also held in Simferopol. Some spectators were measured the temperature and handed out protective masks, but many of them did not observe the distance and did not wear masks.
When preparing to the parade, on June 18, 20, 22, rehearsals were held in Crimean cities, attended by residents of Crimea, but many were without masks and did not observe the distance.
It was reported earlier that this year a traditional May 9 Parade of Victory had been cancelled in the RF and in Crimea due to COVID-19 pandemic. Later RF President Putin changed the parade date for June 24.
The “head” of the occupying power of Crimea, Sergey Aksionov, first decided not to hold a military parade in Simferopol on June 24. By Edict of March 17, Aksionov banned the holding of children’s, sports, cultural, entertainment, public and other mass events because of COVID-19. However, on June 22, Aksionov amended this edict. The amendments made declared that banning mass events “does not apply to holding events on June 24, 2020, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 in the city of Simferopol and the hero city of Kerch.”
However, the situation with COVID-19 spread in Crimea is become worse and worse, and ROSPOTREBNADZOR has not recommended the people to be without a mask and gloves outdoors yet, due to a risk of falling ill with a new coronavirus infection still in effect.
The head of the Crimean Human Rights Group, Ms. Olha Skrypnyk, notes that holding a military parade in Crimea increases the risk of a new outbreak of COVID-19. According to the human rights activist, if after the parade the number of people infected has seriously increased, then the Kremlin-controlled local “government” will be unlikely to announce this publicly, since military parades are a priority for such a totalitarian system that exists in Russia. Ms. Skrypnyk believes that current parades in Crimea demonstrate that Russia is ready to risk the lives of Crimeans for the sake of its policy of militarizing Crimea.
In addition, the Crimean Human Rights Group experts believe that holding military parades during the COVID-19 pandemic in Crimea should be considered as a violation of international humanitarian law by Russia. Article 56 of the Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons obliges the Russian Federation, with all the means at its disposal, to ensure and support the activities of sanitary and hospital facilities and services, health care and public hygiene in the occupied territory of Crimea, which also includes the pro-active and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of epidemics