Five years ago on 26 February 2014 Crimeans showed up in the thousands in Sevastopol, Crimea to show their support for Ukraine and condemn Russian aggression and the “Green men” showing up on their streets. This is considered the beginning of the Russian occupation of Crimea. When the illegitimate “referendum” was held on 16 March 2014, the results did not reflect the clear will of the people of Crimea, those that were standing in solidarity with Ukraine on 26 February 2014, on what is now and forever will be a very symbolic day.
We thank our dedicated volunteer Maryna Prykhodko for her time and efforts put into organizing the demonstration. Today is a very symbolic day. And we came out to stand for what is right. Thank you to everyone who showed up this morning, on February 26 2019, at the UN to demonstrate alongside our Crimean Tatar friends against the illegal occupation of Crimea. Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars have since the tragic events in 2014 banded together against a common aggressor – the Russian Federation. Crimean Tatars, like Ukrainians, continue to be persecuted and repressed in Crimea for expressing their identity and their support for Ukraine. Crimean Tatars are often kidnapped and tortured, wrongfully accused and sentenced to prison under false charges, and have their human rights regularly restricted. For these reasons and more, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities in New York work together towards a common goal – a free Ukraine – and stand together during protests and demonstrations calling for justice.
Despite Russia’s best efforts at distorting law and fact – Crimea is Ukraine! Five years of unlawful occupation – is five years too many. The international community, and especially the UN bodies, must act to bring Russia to justice and bring Crimea back to Ukraine. There have been three separate resolutions passed by the UN in regards to Crimean – recognizing the dire human rights situation on the peninsula, non-recognition of the annexation by the Russian Federation, and non-recognition of the illegal March 2014 referendum. Russia’s seat on the UN Security Council and its right to veto prevent effective action from being taken. Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, however, will continue to stand for what is right.
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