There is nothing Crimean Tatars can do to stop the occupation authorities from banning the Mejlis in Russian occupied Crimea, said Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov at an international conference called ‘Militarization of occupied Crimea as a threat to international security’.

“The banning of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars will not only mean the banning of the representative body itself. The Mejlis is made up of 250 local mejlises elected by Crimean Tatars. We do not know how the occupation authorities in Crimea will be using their illegitimate decision to ban the Mejlis, but there is nothing we can do now to stop them from doing so,” Chubarov said.

According to Chubarov, Russian authorities have taken advantage of the Mejlis trial to accuse a famous Russian opposition politician of membership in the Mejlis, an extremist organization supporting Ukraine.

“Some spin doctors in Russia have identified an opportunity to use the banning of the Mejlis and alleged struggle against extremism to their own advantage. Thus, they jumped on the chance to accuse Mikhail Kasyanov, a Russian opposition politician known for his pro-Ukrainian position, of being a member of an extremist organization supporting Ukraine,” said Chubarov.

Chubarov believes that If the Mejlis is banned, repressions going in Crimea now will target specific people, including those of them who live outside Crimea.

“Yesterday, we had a very long meeting of the Mejlis. Most of the organization’s members are still in Crimea, but it has been operating mostly from mainland Ukraine recently. Now we are working on opening a Mejlis branch in Brussels,” Chubarov said.