Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivered remarks to a joint meeting of U.S.Congress about the situation in his country and the ongoing conflict with Russia. He called on the U.S. to give his country a special defense and security status as a non-NATO member.
Speaking about situation in Crimea, Poroshenko told the Congress Ukraine would never recognize the annexation of Crimea, but emphasized that there could be only peaceful solution of the issue. The president's speech was punctuated by repeated applause and standing ovations.
Poroshenko also shared the story a Crimean Tatar Reshat Ametov, who was killed in Crimea March 2014.
“On March 3rd, when the occupation of Crimea just started, there was one man in the Crimean city of Simferopol who did the unthinkable. When millions felt paralyzed and stunned at what was unfolding before their eyes, Reshat Ametov, a 39-year-old father of three, decided not to be silent.
This brave son of the Crimean Tatar people went on a one-man protest in front of the occupied City Hall. He did nothing more than hold a sheet of paper that said “NO to Occupation!” A group of unknown people arrested him and transported him away – in the plain sight of dozens of witnesses and in front of TV cameras. Two weeks later he was found tortured and executed – mafia-style. Just the thought of this man’s final tormented minutes sends chills down my spine. I ask myself – what made this hero do what he did? And I can find no other answer than – he did it for freedom; so that his children would not face slavery like that of a neo-Stalinist dictatorship.
I am convinced that years from now, when Crimea’s occupation will belong to the past, the Crimean people will think about what he did and salute his braveness – just like I do now!
Ukraine will always stand together with the Crimean Tatar people, whose language, rights, and culture are being trampled upon right now – as they were many years ago under Soviet rule.
I urge America and the world not to be silent about these crimes.
It is Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars who are being oppressed in Crimea today.
And it is time for all people of good will to rephrase John Kennedy’s words from over 50 years ago: “I am a Crimean Tatar!” – and there is nothing that would make me give up my freedom!"- Poroshenko said.
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