The 70th anniversary of Joseph Stalin’s forcible deportation of more than 230,000 Crimean Tatars from their homeland in Crimea weighs especially on our minds today.

U.S. State Secretary John Kerry said this in a statement, posted on the Web site of the State Department.

“The suffering caused by this mass expulsion is almost inexpressible. Those who survived the horrific transit to Central Asia, the Urals and Siberia faced hunger, disease, and repression on arrival. Nearly half of those deported, mostly women and children, perished between 1944 and 1947. Many Crimean Tatars and their descendants remain in exile today” – he added.

Kerry noted, that the U.S. stands in solidarity with the Crimean Tatars on the 70th anniversary of the deportation.

“We commemorate the tragedy of 1944 with heavy hearts”- he stressed.

May 18 Crimea marks 70th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatar and other peoples from Crimea.

Soviet leader Josef Stalin accused Crimean Tatars of collaborating with Nazi Germany and deported them to Central Asia and eastern Russia. Many of the deportees died on their way into exile. Only in the last years of the Soviet Union were members of the community able to start returning to Crimea in the 1980s