First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar says Ukraine is counting on Belgium's participation in the Crimean Platform summit in Kyiv.
She said this during a meeting with Director General for Bilateral Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium Anick Van Calster on February 10, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the key issues of bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and Belgium, fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation within the framework of international organizations, the situation on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine against the background of ongoing Russian aggression.
Dzheppar informed her counterpart about the worsening situation in the temporarily occupied Crimea. In particular, she noted the increasing militarization of the peninsula, which undermines the safety of the region of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, forced demographic change, and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Russian occupational authorities.
"The first deputy minister expressed hope for the participation of the Belgian side in the inaugural summit of the Crimean Platform in Kyiv on August 23, 2021," the ministry noted.
In addition, Emine Dzheppar thanked Anick Van Calster for Belgium's staunch support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, as well as for the firm stance on the matter of countering Russian aggression during Belgium’s non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in 2019-2020.
She particularly expressed gratitude to the Belgian side for providing medical support in Belgium to the Ukrainian soldiers wounded in action in Donbas.
As reported, the Crimean Platform is a new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to improve the efficiency of the international response to the occupation of Crimea, respond to growing security challenges, step up international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupying power and to achieve the de-occupation of Crimea and its return to Ukraine.
The Crimean Platform is expected to operate at the level of heads of state and government, foreign ministers, in the dimension of inter-parliamentary cooperation and expert network.
The Crimean Platform is expected to be launched officially at an inaugural summit in Kyiv in 2021.