Head of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov appealed to the U.S. President Barack Obama in the letter. Below is the full text of the letter, published on the official site of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to you and the people of the United States of America.
A disaster has struck Crimea, the homeland of the Crimean Tatar people, threatening to escalate into a humanitarian and social catastrophe for its almost two million population – Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars.
For over a week, there has been a large-scale movement of Russian troops in the streets and on the roads of Crimea backing a group of irresponsible Crimean separatist politicians who have committed a coup.
More and more military forces are being brought from Russia to Crimea daily. The number of Russian troops in Crimea has exceeded 30 thousand soldiers. They have blocked all military bases of Ukraine, airports, and every entrance and exit from Crimea.
The multicultural population of Crimea is particularly anxious about the numerous groups of “Cossacks” – members of paramilitary organizations who have been brought en masse to Crimea from Krasnodar region and other territories of the Russian Federation in order to destabilize the situation, as well as about arming of so called “self-defense squads” led by the putschists while the civil population remains unarmed.
Military observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have been unable to reach Crimea for over three days. Armed people are stopping them at the entrance to Crimea.
Mr Robert Serry, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General was threatened and forced to leave Crimea.
Mr President, today the whole civilized world is expecting a turmoil that further escalation of the situation in Crimea could cause.
Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars - the multiethnic population of Crimea – look to the future with apprehension and fear for the lives of their children, relatives and friends. Something irreversible can happen at any moment.
In the 20th century, Crimea has already suffered a humanitarian disaster and its consequences have not been eliminated till today. 70 years ago, on 18 May 1944, the Communist regime of the Soviet Union subjected the whole Crimean Tatar people – an indigenous people of Crimea - to deportation en masse.
Then in one day we were deprived of everything – our homeland, homes and property. Within the first years of the exile, 46% of our people died of repressions, hunger, diseases and hardships in exile in the remote regions of the Central Asia, Ural and Siberia.
Only 45 years later we could return to our homeland – Crimea. The return of the Crimean Tatar people coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the foundation of the independent Ukraine where we are living today. Crimean Tatars have been facing great difficulties while resettling in their homeland, living in peace and consent with their neighbors – Russians, Ukrainians and other ethnic communities of Crimea.
Mr President, in view of the recent events and possible gravest consequences due to the invasion of Crimea by numerous Russian troops, Crimean Tatars, as well as their neighbors – Russians and Ukrainians -put their hope in the international community and the leading world states, especially the United States of America.
With respect to you and the Government of the United States of America, allow me to convey the questions of thousands of Crimean residents – Crimean Tatars, Russians and Ukrainians - to you and other world leaders:
- Who and when will stop the escalation of the situation in Crimea and avert a threat to the population of Crimea?
- Who and when will avert a threat of new ethnic cleansings that could occur in Crimea in case of violent conflicts, provoked by military and their accomplices from the paramilitary organizations?
Mr President, I believe that the world can find the answers to these and many other questions only together with the Governments of the United States, Ukraine and Russia.
We ask you to be decisive for the sake of the peace and justice, and protecting lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in Crimea.
Chairman, Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People