The Russian Federation militarizes Crimea, using it as a base for expansion into the Balkans, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov said this during a briefing for UN member states on February 20.
"The total militarization of the peninsula is taking place in Crimea. Russia uses it as a base for expansion into the Balkans, the Middle East, and the entire Mediterranean. The participation of Russian mercenaries in the war in Libya and Syria is provided from Crimea," Reznikov said.
According to him, Russia also commits a large-scale war crime, systematically changing the composition of the population of Crimea, thereby violating the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
The Deputy Prime Minister reminded that the UN General Assembly resolution of December 16, 2020, condemned human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, the imposition of Russian citizenship, illegal election campaigns and votes, changes in the demographic composition of the Crimean population and suppression of national identity.
"More than 500,000 people from the Russian Federation have already been brought there [to the occupied Crimea] to reduce the share of ethnic Ukrainians and the indigenous people - the Crimean Tatars. Over the temporary occupation, about 25% of the population has already been replaced," the official stressed.
He stressed that the sharp increase in population and large-scale military construction leads to the severe exploitation of water resources and disruptions in water supply, the destruction of the unique ecosystem of Crimea.
"So the challenges go far beyond purely Ukrainian ones. They are at least European in scale. And the reason for these challenges is Russian aggression," Reznikov stressed.
About Water Crisis of Crimea
Until 2014, Ukraine provided 85% of Crimea’s freshwater needs through the North Crimean Canal, which connects the Dnieper River with the peninsula.
After Russia had illegally occupied Crimea, water supplies to Crimea were cut off.
Five rivers supplying fresh water to reservoirs for drinking water on the peninsula dried up as a whole: Kacha, Alma, Chernaya, Belbek, Tonas rivers.
Since August 2020, the occupation authorities introduced severe restrictions on water consumption in several districts of Crimea.
Currently, water reserves on the peninsula are replenished from reservoirs and underground sources.
According to Crimean environmentalists, regular use of underground sources leads to salinization of soil.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has repeatedly stated the need for its experts to enter the occupied peninsula blocked by Russia. The mission also declared that Russia has the primary responsibility for ensuring the water supply of the territory it occupied.