In an interview with Otkrytaya Rossiya, Lenur Islyamov, a coordinator of Crimea’s blockade, spoke about a three-phase approach to blocking Crimea, as well as difficulties he has been facing in dealing with the Ukrainian authorities. 

“A lot of people, including Mejlis members, reproach me by saying: “You don’t mince words communicating your messages to the Ukrainian authorities. You should not be criticizing them because Russians are our foes now, while Ukrainians seem to be our friends. They are at least letting us do something”. But I am not sure whether having a friend you cannot rely on is a good thing. Maybe one does not need a friend like this?” said Islyamov.

According to Islyamov, he constantly got told a blockade could wait because Ukraine is not yet a fully mature country. It is weak and one should not be taking chances with Putin because Russian troops will cross into the Kherson region. Islyamov made an emphasis on the fact that before the blockade was put in place trade turnover between Ukraine and Crimea stood at $1,5 billion a month. Crimea was like a black hole sucking in goods that ended up being in Russia because Crimea does not need that much.

"As announced, the blockade will be implemented in several phases. First, there was to be a food blockade. We did that. A food blockade was to be followed by an energy blockade. We did that, too. Now, we are going to put in place a sea blockade. And that means that Crimea will end up being totally isolated. We will also put an end to a ferry connection across the Kerch Strait. Crimea totally depends on Ukraine for its livelihood, I would say up to 80-90%,” explained Islyamov.

According to Islyamov, Crimean Tatars have their own interests to pursue but that does not mean that they are against Ukraine or Russia.

“Let us do what we want to do. We want to sing our songs and put to rest our grandfathers and great grandfathers the way we deem fit. That is the way we are. Either take us as we are or leave us alone. We were not destroyed under occupation and we will never let ourselves be destroyed. We should come and do what we have to do, i.e. make Crimea ours again. And that is what we are living for,” said Islyamov.

It was reported earlier that Lenur Islyamov promised to let the repair crews fix the damaged transmission towers once political prisoners in Russia are released.