Russia uses occupied Crimea as a base for expansion into the Balkans and the Middle East - Reznikov
Russia is militarizing occupied Crimea, using it as a base for its expansion into the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. During the occupation of the peninsula, about 25% of the population has already been replaced.
Deputy Prime Minister - Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Alexey Reznikov stated this at a briefing for UN member states on February 20.
“Crimea is undergoing a total militarization of the peninsula. Russia uses it as a base for the 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 is also committing a large-scale war crime, systematically changing the composition of the population of Crimea, violating the Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
“Over 500,000 people from the Russian Federation have already been brought there (to occupied Crimea) to reduce the number of ethnic Ukrainians and the indigenous people - the Crimean Tatars. During the temporary occupation, about 25% of the population has been replaced", - the official said.
He stressed that the sharp increase in population and large-scale military construction leads to the barbaric 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 of European scale. And the reason for these challenges is Russian aggression", - Reznikov stressed.
What is known
- On December 16, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning human rights abuses in occupied Crimea, imposing Russian citizenship, conducting illegal election campaigns and voting, changing the population of the peninsula, and suppressing national identity.
- By 2014, Ukraine provided 85% of Crimea's freshwater needs through the North Crimean Canal. After Russia's occupation of Crimea, water supplies to Crimea were cut off.