VIENNA (QHA) -

The Russian occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol continues to be characterized by a flagrant violation of international law, the suppression of the opposition to the occupation and the systematic persecution of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars as the most vulnerable communities that suffered most during the occupation.

Permanent representative of Ukraine to international organizations in Vienna Ihor Prokopchuk made a corresponding statement at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council held on May 3, according to the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

"Against the backdrop of Russia's attempts to conceal its violations, bold human rights activists, journalists, lawyers and families of political prisoners unite their efforts in monitoring the continuing flagrant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Crimea and they are trying to bring this to the attention of the international community. These people are taking a real risk in their commitment to freedom, justice and human rights," he said.

The representative of Ukraine also recalled the mysterious death of four people, including two Crimean Tatars, in the prison of Simferopol in April.

According to him, these are the cases when only an international presence in the field of human rights can help to establish facts on the ground.

“On April 26, the Russian occupying security forces searched the production bases, warehouses and offices of the food distribution company "KrymOpt", as well as the home of the company's employees in Bilohirsk. This company belongs to the Crimean Tatars. The owner of the company was detained and was reportedly transferred to Lefortovo prison in Moscow. We urge Russia to stop this blatant persecution of people in the Crimea and put an end to the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law," Prokopchuk said.

The representative of Ukraine urged the Russian Federation to withdraw illegal armed groups from Ukraine and to stop the occupation of the Crimea.

"We again call on the Russian Federation to reverse the illegal occupation of the Crimea and Sevastopol and stop its aggression, including through withdrawal of its armed formations from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and fully fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreements," Prokopchuk stated.

Earlier, US representatives at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council expressed concern about the health status of the imprisoned Crimean Tatar activist Uzeir Abdullayev and Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh.

QHA