In Bakhchisaray, during an assembly on Lenin square commemorating the 70th anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of the Crimean Tatars, two military helicopters began to circle the assembled gathering and continued to fly low during the entire somber event, interfering with speeches, reports, May 18.

Residents of Bakhchisaray and the Bakhchisaray district, including many children and elderly people who had witnessed the deportation, had gathered to commemorate the anniversary of the deportation. When the helicopters appeared in the sky, those present began to chant “Mustafa!” and also “Millett! Vatan! Kyrym (Nation! Homeland! Crimea!).

Akhtem Chyjhoz, the head of the Bakhchisaray district of the Mejlis (representative body of the Crimean Tatars — Ed.), called on those present not to give in to provocations and to join the assembly of all of Crimea in the Ak-Mechet district of Simferopol. It also was reported that helicopters were circling over Simferopol and the surrounding villages.

As previously reported, on May 18, Crimean Tatars commemorated the victims of Stalin’s deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944. The Crimean Tatars consider this tragedy the genocide of their people. According to historians, more than 40% of the Crimean Tatars died from intolerable conditions, from hunger and disease. Out of 423,000 deported, some 195,000 died during the transport and the first 18 months of life in the special settlements.

Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed prime minister of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov has banned all mass events on the annexed peninsula until June 6.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on the international community to put an end to Russian aggression against Ukraine and to support the Crimean Tatars, who find themselves in a difficult situation in the annexed Crimea.

Aksyonov finally gave permission for the Crimean Tatars to organize a public meeting on May 18 at a Muslim cemetery.


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