Second Summit of Crimea Platform: How Ukraine Will Return Crimea

The 2nd Summit of Crimea Platform attended by 60 countries and international organizations is being held in Kyiv on August 23. Due to a full scale war being waged by Russian on Ukraine the summit is being held on line.

The event is being live streamed at Crimea Platform official website.

As President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said, “despite everything, despite any threats, Ukraine is strong enough and it has managed enough to see the prospects for the Ukrainian Crimea.”

‘Dear citizens of Ukraine from Crimea and Crimea! I know that you are watching and hearing us today. For us it is very important. This is very important for me, for society, for each of us. I know that Crimea is with Ukraine and is waiting for us to return. I want you all to know that we will be back. When we return and fix everything that the invaders did on our Ukrainian peninsula.

What came to Crimea and the entire Black Sea region together with Russian aggression, Russian weapons? Catastrophic threats to the environment, unprecedented destruction of the Crimean nature, destruction of social life, economic decline, destruction of monuments, militarism. And when the Russian navy based in the occupied Crimea blocked our ports on the Black and Azov Seas, this has provoked a global food crisis and a crisis of human rights – rights of Crimeans, wonderful citizens of our unitary state of Ukraine,’ Mr.Zelensky said.

Mr. Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs, noted that with the year passed, Ukraine had managed to significantly expand the Crimean platform potential.

‘Last year the summit was attended by delegations from 46 foreign states and international organizations. This year we host almost 60. I am grateful to everyone. Significantly more national leaders – 40 presidents and prime ministers, including the leaders of the G7. I am grateful to everyone for understanding how important such actions are now – your support, our joint actions, and our joint work. Representatives of two more continents have joined this year – Africa and South America, and this demonstrates that there is no limit in the world that the truth about the Russian war against Ukraine and our people would not overcome.

The degradation of Russia began with the capture of the Crimea. It began with terror against the Crimean Tatar people, the indigenous people of Crimea. With repressions on religious grounds, which have become perhaps the major religious persecution in Europe in the 21st century, -against the Crimean Muslim community.

There was also the expulsion of all ordinary people who said that Crimea was Ukraine, who were not afraid to defend Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian freedom in Crimea – from the occupied Crimea. And murders, and tortures – we have seen everything – and humiliation, and looting – all this has been done by the occupiers in Crimea and they keep on doing this since the first weeks after its dishonourable occupation. And then they have spread these crimes to the Donbass, to other countries, in particular Syria, to African countries, where Russian banditry now exists under the guise of Russian security agencies,” Mr. Kuleba said.

According to him, “it is important to remember that resistance did be on the peninsula. We know that there were and there are people who do not keep silence, who defend freedom, and simply defend an ordinary life in Crimea. They are being repressed. But we see them, we know about them, we are thankful to them’.

Mr.Kuleba made public a letter of Nariman Dzhelial, a Crimean Tatar activist, and a political prisoner, who was being held behind bars by the Russian occupiers in Crimea together with Asan and Aziz Akhtemovs.

‘The occupiers imprisoned him on an absolutely false accusation that he was fighting for his homeland, for taking part in the first summit of the Crimea Platform held last year. Last year, he left the already occupied Crimea to tell the summit participants what was really happening on the peninsula and what all this would lead to. And nine days after his coming back to Crimea, the invaders deprived him of freedom. Because he was just a free man. That was Russia’s response,” Mr.Kuleba added.

Mr.Dzhelial wrote:

‘It began with Crimea, and it will end with Crimea.’ And this would be, indeed. I believe in it. In order to overcome terror, in order to return predictability and security to our region, Europe and the whole world, we need to win the fight against the Russian aggression, which means we need to liberate Crimea from occupation. Where it began, it will end there. This will be an effective ‘resuscitation’ of the international legal order.

But this is not a general political and legal task for the world. This is about a specific land, about specific people living in Crimea. About cities, about culture, about specific sights. About the hopes of living individuals. About someone who invested their lives in Crimea, and once Russia came, they had either to leave it and flee to other lands, or to be afraid that their something small, their own: home, land, work, any business … would be taken away. And they had to limit themselves. Or lose everything when taken away.

Russia has stolen even a part of life of those in Crimea who managed not to become a victim of repressions. This might have been unimaginable, but the occupation has transformed Crimea, this paradise for all of us, into a depressed and dependent region. Into the region of high fences, barbed wires, and lawlessness. Into a zone of ecological disaster and a military foothold for aggression and the spread of grief.

Since February 24, 750 different winged missiles have been launched from the occupied Crimea to our cities, our communities. Imagine: 750 – for six months! They destroyed at least a hundred civilian objects: schools, universities, ordinary residential buildings, hospitals.

Therefore, restoring control over Crimean Peninsula by Ukraine will become a historic anti-war step in Europe.

This will return security and ensure justice, this will reintegrate Crimea into the modern world and allow each of us – men and women, participants of the Crimea Platform – to tell our children, our relatives, and friends that they can be proud of us namely as peacekeepers.

And I want to stress out: for Ukraine, Crimea is not just a territory, not a piece in the geopolitical game, as for the terrorist state, for Ukraine Crimea is a part of our people, our society. A community of people to whom we guarantee freedom and whom we will take back to the present.

Crimea was and is Ukraine. And after de-occupation, together with our entire state, it will become part of the European Union. I am sure of this. The passport of a citizen of Ukraine will also be the passport of the European Union. These are enormous opportunities for all our people living in Crimea.

The roads of Crimea will be the roads of the entire European continent, the ports of Crimea will be the ports of whole Europe. It is Ukraine that can connect Simferopol with Berlin, and Yalta with Naples.

It is Ukraine that is concerned about the true security of Crimea. That is, a standard supply of clean water, standard waste disposal, effective rules for handling waste and sewage.

It is Ukraine that can build an up-to-date irrigation system in Crimea and integrate Crimea’s agricultural production and the entire business sector into the awesome European market.

It is our state that will give Crimea an up-to-date and affordable medical system, an up-to-date and affordable educational system, and an up-to-date digital system of public services.

Ukraine will remove the barbed wire blocking the way for ordinary people to the best places, and the illegal fences that have just torn up the coast of our beautiful Crimea. Free access to beaches, real protection of protected areas, historical sites – only Ukraine will provide this, and not that who came to capture, steal and humiliate people.

It is Ukraine that will restore the system of heath resorts and rehabilitation centers in Crimea – professional institutions that will be able to serve hundreds of thousands of people every year. Millions of tourists. Children and adults, civilians and veterans, our citizens and foreigners – everyone who is helped by the precious nature of Crimea. And millions of tourists – at least of the middle class – can stably come to Crimea only thanks to Ukraine.

Under the Ukrainian authorities, there will never be repressions in Crimea – and everyone knows this, unfreedom or moral suffocation that Russia brought in 2014 would disappear. And, in addition, Ukraine will never spit at the social needs of pensioners or anyone else in Crimea. Ukraine will never tell people: ‘There is no money, but you should keep going.’ We respect people, and even this year, already in the bloody times of a full-scale war, we have indexed pensions for all our pensioners.’

As Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, who came to Kyiv for the Crimea Platform Summit, said, ‘the entire territory of Ukraine, including Crimea, should be liberated’.

There is no return to standard business in relations with Russia, when Russia is at war against Ukraine, when it is attacking and occupying its legal, internationally recognized borders, its territories. The change in policy in the West is not just the complete cessation of Nord Stream 2, but also the elimination, complete dismantling of this stream. Bombs that fell on Kharkiv, and Kyiv; after what we saw in Irpin’, Borodianka, Bucha, Mariupol’, destroyed by missiles, after crimes, after the Russian war against Ukraine. Due to the destruction and slaughter of Ukraine, we are not able to return to the line that was on February 23 this year. It is necessary to liberate the entire territory of Ukraine, together with Crimea, within internationally recognized borders,’ President Duda said.

He stressed that Crimea was and is Ukraine.

‘Crimea is and remains the part of Ukraine as Gdansk and Lublin are Poland, Nice is France, Cologne is Germany, Rotterdam is the Netherlands,” the Polish president mentioned.

Emmanuel Macron, President of France, said that the Russian Federation must fulfill its obligations to comply with international law, stop hostilities and withdraw troops from the territory of Ukraine.

‘Eight years ago, Russia illegally annexed a part of the territory of Ukraine, violated the fundamental norms of international law. France has always supported the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and will continue to do so. I would like to remind Russia about her commitments on respecting the international law’.

The President of France also noted the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the observance of human rights on the peninsula after its temporary occupation by Russia.

‘A year ago we met together and condemned the annexation of Crimea. Ukraine chose the path of diplomacy, while Russia chose the path of war. And again violated the foundations of international law – started a full-scale invasion on February 24’, President Macron said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, in turn, stressed that to put an end to the Russia’s occupation of Crimea was a de facto requirement of international law and an essential element of global security and stability.

‘Since the very first days Turkey has clearly stated that the annexation of Crimea is unconstitutional and illegal, and does not recognize it. This is a fundamental position both for legal and moral reasons. International law, in fact, determines that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine, as it is its integral part. For Turkey, it is also a priority to ensure the security and well-being of the Crimean Tatars, affined to us, who are one of the indigenous peoples of Crimea. Our Crimean Tatars are closely observing the latest events in Crimea,” the President of Turkey emphasized.

He also expressed hope that the Crimea Platform had an extraordinary significance, and the Crimean Tatars, suffering in their history, were fighting for a peaceful life in their homeland.

‘In this process, Turkey continues to support the Ukrainian government and the Crimean Tatars,’ the Turkish leader summed up.

Support for Ukraine was also expressed by the leaders of 60 countries and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

On August 23, 2021, the inaugural Crimean Platform Summit was held. It officially launched the first international format for Crimea.

The Crimea Platform is a new international consultation and coordination format initiated by Ukraine.

The platform purpose is to improve the effectiveness of the international response to the ongoing occupation of Crimea, respond to growing security threats, increase international pressure on the Kremlin, prevent further human rights violations and protect the victims of the occupation regime, as well as achieve the main goal of de-occupying Crimea and returning it peacefully to Ukraine.

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