Mass persecutions of Crimean Tatars is now underway in Crimea due to the launching of a ‘power blockade’, reads a report released by the Crimean Human Rights watchdog during ‘Impact of the blockade of Crimea on common people from a human rights activist’s perspective’ press conference.

First persecutions began after transmission towers got blown up on November 23. It was then that Eskander Bariyev, a member of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars, reported Ilyas Halilov being held and taken to un unknown location by FSS (Russia’s Federal Security Service) officers. A day later, Russian border guards held up for no valid reason Veldar Shukurzhiyev, an activist with the Crimea’s Ukrainian Cultural Center, and threatened to ban him from entering Crimea until 2030. FSS officers have been paying visits to the homes of Mejlis members and summoning Mejlis members’ relatives for questioning since November 25.  According to the FSS, that they have been doing this to establish whereabouts of those responsible for the blowing up of transmission towers in the Kherson region.

“For example, Shukurjiyev was only let go early in the morning, following which he was able to enter Crimea, where he resides on a permanent basis. For several days, he has been harassed by police officers who have been trying to make him sign their version of an arrest report. Shukurjiyev was arrested for posing with a Ukrainian flag in the downtown area on August 11 after,” said Vissarion Aseyev, the Crimean Human Rights watchdog.

According to the human rights activists, the situation with human rights abuses in Crimea will be further deteriorating.

“Searches are continuing – and that’s a fact. And that can lead to the worsening of the situation, including people being taken into custody and arrested,” said Olga Skripnik, an analyst with the Crimean Human Rights watchdog.

The speakers noted that the Russian security services may not only target Crimean Tatars but also all openly pro-Ukrainian people.