27 February 2016 will mark two years since the seizure of government buildings in Crimea by unmarked armed men who Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently admitted to be Russian soldiers. Ukrainian communities in Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Athens, and Tallin will hold rallies on 28 February to turn attention “position of the nation that has become the main victim of Putin’s regime.” Additionally, Crimean Tatars living in Türkiye will protest against the Russian occupation of Crimea on 27 February 2016 in Çankaya.
The Ukrainian activists living in Italy explained their position thus, according to a statement published by the Ukrainian World Congress:
“On 27 February unidentified armed people, so-called “green men”, captured and blocked the parliament and Cabinet of Ministers of the Autonomous republic of Crimea, the airports and other important infrastructure objects of the peninsula. On 1 March 2014 the Russian Duma voted in support of Russian President Putin’s appeal to use the army in Ukraine. Over three weeks, Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia. With these actions, Russia violated international agreements, in particular, the Budapest Memorandum and agreement about friendship between Russia and Ukraine.”
Read more: Chronology of the annexation of Crimea
“After that, special forces of the Russian Federation captured administrative buildings of Donetsk and Luhansk, having created terrorist organizations “LNR” and “DNR”, which began a areal war against the Ukrainian army. A war which continues till today. Russia kidnapped and is bringing to trial Ukrainian political prisoners, among which are MEP Nadiya Savchenko, filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, and many others.
This criminal act of Russia against Ukraine has already resulted in 10,000 killed, tens of thousands of wounded, and almost 2mn of displaced people and refugees. Disregarding the attempts of the international community to stop the war and restore peace and order on these territories, Russia continues to deny its responsibility and take specific steps to stop its aggression. In reality, the so-called Minsk agreements exist only on paper and are not implemented in practice. Military aggression using heavy weapons does not cease, captives are not exchanged, civilians suffer from war.
Apart from military aggression, Russia continues its propaganda war, accusing Ukraine as if it has occupied Russian territory and not the other way around. The cynical lies of the Russian government in many ways excels Goebbels’ propaganda, attempting to justify their own actions and divide the international community.
Unfortunately, voices defending Putin and calls to lift sanctions against Russia sound more and more often in European countries, and Russian propaganda is being spread through mass media.
In this situation, the Ukrainian community in Italy can’t stand aside and wishes to express its position, the position of the nation that has become the main victim of Putin’s regime.”
Read more about the occupation of Crimea on the page of our special project.