Russia has tripled its military presence in Crimea since onset of occupation.

The Russian Federation has transformed Crimea into a military base, in particular by tripling its military presence in Crimea since the onset of the occupation.

"Ukrainian Crimea was a guarantee of regional stability, and now it is, so to speak, a powder keg. Since the onset of the occupation, Moscow has tripled its military presence on our Ukrainian peninsula. Once a world-famous resort, Crimea has become a military base, a springboard for further expansion of the Russian Federation's influence in the Black Sea region," President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said at the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Crimea has become a territory where human rights and freedoms are grossly and systematically violated, he stressed.

"Without ensuring proper security in the Black Sea, we are unlikely to be able to return Crimea," Zelensky said.

"Our territory was annexed by one of the guarantors of Ukraine's security in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum, one of the member states of the UN Security Council," the President emphasized.

As reported, the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform – President’s initiative for the de-occupation of Crimea – is held in Kyiv on August 23.

The Crimea Platform is a new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to step up the efficiency of international response to the occupation of Crimea, respond to growing security challenges, increase international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupation regime, and achieve the main goal: to de-occupy Crimea and restore Ukraine’s sovereignty over the peninsula.

The Platform is to operate at several levels: heads of state and government, foreign ministers, inter-parliamentary cooperation, expert network.

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