KYIV (QHA) -

The Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov believes that Ukraine at the official level should immediately and reasonably respond to any provocative or unreliable statements of world leaders that affect, in particular, the issue of the occupied Crimea.

Chubarov made a corresponding statement at a briefing in Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre.

Refat Chubarov, in particular, illustrated how the Ukrainian side should react to information that US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the NATO summit allegedly called the Crimea Russian, because everyone speaks Russian there.

According to Chubarov, very often statements and replicas in high-level meetings are not completely thought out, very often some  messages are used that require an instant response, and even repulse.

In this situation, Ukraine should have immediately issued an official statement explaining the reasons for the language situation in the Crimea in the context of its illegal annexation. In particular, accentuating that the Russian language is prevailing in the Crimea due to the fact that for several centuries the Russian Empire, and then the Soviet Union, pursued a policy of harassment against the indigenous people of the Crimea - the Crimean Tatars, displacing their language and culture, forcibly deporting and replacing the population of the peninsula. Thus, the majority of the Russian-speaking population was formed in the Crimea, and Russia used this situation as an excuse for the annexation of the peninsula.

At the same time, according to Refat Chubarov, Ukraine should emphasize that the indigenous people of Crimea seek self-determination only as part of Ukraine. And it is the desire of the indigenous people that is decisive in accordance with international norms. Thus, the real picture of the current situation in the Crimea would have been conveyed to the world community, and in this case, specifically to Trump.

“The position of the Ukrainian state should proceed from the following: "You say that everyone there speaks Russian? Yes, but this was due to the fact that for centuries the indigenous people were being evicted. And today Crimean Tatars live in Crimea, they are only 13%, but this is a consequence of Russian imperial policy, and we should talk about the status of the Crimea based on the right of the indigenous people, while the indigenous people of Crimea want self-determination as part of the Ukrainian state.”

The Head of the Mejlis further noted that now Ukraine lacks legislation that would regulate the rights of indigenous peoples. Thus, Ukraine deprives itself of the opportunity to appeal to world leaders and defend its position on the status of the Crimea, while relying on national legislation in conjunction with international law. That is why Ukraine needs to intensify work on adopting amendments to Section X of the Constitution of Ukraine on the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as well as to adopt laws on the status of the Crimean Tatars and the status of indigenous peoples, Chubarov notes.

"The Ukrainian side should respond to these statements immediately, but not emotionally, relying on international law, including the part that we call international humanitarian law. In particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And in order to say this reasonably, it is necessary to change the legislation in Ukraine, to adopt amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, laws on the status of the Crimean Tatar people and indigenous peoples in Ukraine, including Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks. And next – step up to the international arena with its arguments based on national legislation, and most importantly - based on international law.”

Refat Chubarov regretfully added that Ukrainian politicians mostly miss such ambiguous statements and do not react to them.

Earlier, the Head of the Mejlis noted that Ukraine should adopt all laws as soon as possible to "fight" for the Crimea.

QHA