On the Day of Resistance to the Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasizes that Ukraine continues to work to de-occupy the peninsula and bring the occupying country - Russia - to justice, including by creating the Crimean platform.
On 26 February, Ukraine marks the Day of Resistance to Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol.
"Ukraine continues to consolidate international efforts to achieve the complete de-occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol and to bring Russia to justice for its crimes. To this end, Ukraine is creating a new international coordination format, the Crimea Platform, and calls on all partners to join it. Together, we will restore justice and stability through joint actions. Crimea is Ukraine," a comment made by the Foreign Ministry on the occasion of the Day of Resistance to the Occupation of Crimea says.
The MFA stressed that Russia seized Crimea by armed aggression and attempted its illegal annexation on the pretext of an unlawful and rigged referendum. "By doing so, it grossly violated the basic principles of international law and undermined the European and global security system."
"Russia has been pursuing a criminal policy of colonization and assimilation of the peninsula from day one of the occupation. It systemically violates international law and human rights, uses brutal repression against all those, who have the courage to resist the occupation. The national, cultural, and religious rights of ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars are being curtailed, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is being persecuted, the freedom of speech is suppressed and the independent media are destroyed," the MFA said.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry added that the occupation authorities are purposefully persecuting the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of the peninsula, who do not accept the occupation.
"Russia is trying to criminalize all dissidents, illegally detaining them and convicting them on trumped-up charges of 'terrorism' and 'extremism.' Back in 2016, Russia banned the Mejlis (the representative body of the Crimean Tatar people) and outlawed all its members. Despite the 2017 order of the UN International Court of Justice, the Mejlis remains banned," the comment says.
The ministry also said that Russia is also intensifying the militarization of Crimea. "The peninsula, known as Ukraine's resort area before the occupation, has been transformed into a Russian military base, which poses a threat not only to Ukraine but also to other countries in the region, including many NATO and EU-member states."
Ukraine is grateful to allies and partners for consistent and effective support in the struggle to restore territorial integrity.
"The international community should increase political and sanctions pressure on Russia to persuade it to liberate the occupied Ukrainian territories, release all political prisoners, and abide by the international court rulings," the MFA said.
On February 26, Ukraine celebrates the Day of Resistance to the Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. On this day, in Simferopol, a mass rally organized by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people took place outside the building of the Crimean parliament against the intentions to tear off Crimea from Ukraine. Since then, for Ukraine, February 26 has become a symbol of resistance to the occupation, which has been going on for seven years.