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Crimean Tatars' self-governing body - a target for Putin's regime

Date

17 Feb 2016

Sections

Europe's East
Security

A request by the prosecutor in Russian-occupied Crimea to ban the Mejlis, Crimean Tatars' self-governing body, by calling it "an extremist organization", has been strongly criticized by MEP Hans van Baalen (VVD, The Netherlands), ALDE spokesperson on Russia and Ukraine:

"Before the illegal Russian occupation of Crimea, the Crimean Tatars were respected citizens of Ukraine with their own self-governing body called the Mejlis. Today, the Russian backed authorities in Crimea try to destroy the identity of the Crimean Tatars. Therefore, Crimea should be returned to Ukraine and the rights of the Tatars should be restored".

ALDE Group Vice President, Petras Auštrevičius (Liberal Movement of Lithuania) added:

austrevicius-web.jpg"The European Parliament resolution on Crimea was very timely and our concerns were and still are absolutely legitimate and well-founded. Things are getting worse every day. It is obvious that the occupational authorities are determined to end any kind of different opinions and thoughts, and now a target is the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. Unfortunately, the situation is worsening throughout all Russia. This only proves that the current EU policy towards Russia is the right one. Repressions in and by Russia have to receive an adequate response from the EU. This is the only way to deal with Putin's regime."

Earlier this month, the European Parliament approved a resolution to condemn Russia for its treatment of Crimean Tatars. The Mejlis has refused to recognize Russia's forced annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine. Many Crimean Tatars left the region during or after its military seizure by Russia and many of those who remained have complained of harassment or even disappearances under the Moscow-backed authorities on the peninsula.

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