Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Window on Eurasia: West Must Adopt a Serious Non-Recognition Policy on Crimea, Mejlis Leader Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, July 16 – Western countries need to adopt a serious non-recognition policy concerning Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, including imposing real restrictions on firms Russian or otherwise which seek to use the ports and airports of the peninsula, according to Refat Chubarov, the Mejlis leader.


            In an interview with Mikhailo Glukhovsky of the news agency, Chubarov said that such a policy could include a variety of measures to ensure that ships and planes are not able to dock or land in other countries if they originate in Russian-occupied Crimea or pass through the peninsula (


            “If we want that all the rules connected with the annexed territory will be precisely fulfilled, it is necessary that we immediately break off all ties with that country which annexed our territory,” the Mejlis head said. And “believe me,” he continued, “there are thousands of [such] ties in various spheres.”  Flights and ship movements are only one.


            He said that securing such a policy was one of the goals of his and Mustafa Cemal’s recent visit to Ankara and added that it was important to have such policies in place to show that the world has not accepted what Moscow has done as the last word on the subject and that Crimea can now be forgotten.


            The Crimean Tatar leadership, Chubarov says, believes that “the world order was destroyed as a result of the aggressive actions of the Russian Federatin regarding Ukraine which led to the annexation of Crimea.”  So far, he said, measures Western countries have taken have not been effective.


            Unless new and more effective steps are taken, he continued, “we can only guess how far the leadership of the Russian Federation will go in its aggressive plans.”


            In other comments, Chubarov said that the new leadership of Ukraine was supportive of the Crimean Tatars, but he suggested that Kyiv might have acted more vigorously at the start of the crisis and prevented the annexation if it had adopted “immediate measures in defense of its sovereignty.”   But the Ukrainian state was too weak at that time to do so.


            With regard to the Mejlis itself, he said, Moscow will continue to try to divide it or even ban it, adding that those who say it should register with the occupation authorities do not understand that that would lead to “many more problems” than the Crimean Tatar parliament now faces.


             In conclusion, Chubarov said that in occupied Crimea, the Russian FSB is all-powerful. It is behind the moves against the Mejlis, it controls all the nominal officials, and it has its people in most if not all of the mosques of the peninsula.  No one should be under any illusions about that.




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