Repressive actions by Russia’s occupation authorities and its proxies to repress Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and other ethnic and religious minorities go hand-in-hand with Moscow’s efforts to destabilise Ukraine via bloody conflict in the Donbas.
U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE James S. Gilmore said this at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on November 26, U.S. Mission to OSCE reports.
The American diplomat condemned the politically motivated persecution and arrests in the occupied Crimea, as well as Russia's militarisation of the Crimean peninsula, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azov.
The conflict in Ukraine is not limited to the Donbas. In Crimea, Russian occupation authorities continue to harass, arrest, and prosecute activists, journalists, and members of civil society, simply for exercising their rights of peaceful assembly or to freedom of expression or religion. We condemn Russia’s continued efforts to subject the residents of Crimea to politically motivated arrest and prosecution. We further condemn Russia’s militarisation of the Crimean peninsula, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azov, to include the conscription of more than 24,000 young Crimeans into the Russian Armed Forces.
The Ambassador called on the behalf of the United States on Russia to end its aggression against Ukraine, return control of Crimea to Ukraine, and remove its forces, materiel, and hardware from eastern Ukraine.
"We reaffirm that Crimea is Ukraine. The United States views Russia’s occupation of Crimea, backed by a sham referendum, as a key element of its ongoing aggression against its sovereign neighbour. Repressive actions by Russia’s occupation authorities and its proxies to repress Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and other ethnic and religious minorities go hand-in-hand with Moscow’s efforts to destabilise Ukraine via bloody conflict in the Donbas. We see no distinction between these two components."
Gilmore congratulated the United Nations’ Third Committee for approving last week the draft resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, and further expressed grave concern of U.S. for abuses committed by Russia against Crimeans.
"We similarly express grave concern for abuses committed by Russia against Crimeans, including the use of involuntary placement in psychiatric institutions as a form of harassment and punishment of political opponents and activists; the searches and raids of private homes and businesses in Crimea, particularly those belonging to Crimean Tatars; and the use of torture reportedly since 2014 to extract false confessions for politically motivated prosecutions."
The diplomat declared that The Crimea-related sanctions would remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.