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Documentary “Crimea. As it Was” shows the very beginning of Russia’s occupation of the peninsula

Documentary “Crimea. As it Was” shows the very beginning of Russia’s occupation of the peninsula
Edited by: David Kirichenko

Six years ago, in March, Ukraine found itself in a tumultuous situation as Russia had invaded Crimea and illegally annexed the peninsula. Ukraine was still reeling from the Euromaidan Revolution, and Russia moved quickly to annex Crimea, the biggest land-grab in Europe since World War II. However, the preconditions for a Russian invasion were visible long before 2014.    

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Black Sea fleet came under Ukraine’s control in line with the principles of territorial integrity and state sovereignty. It was not long before these good days for Ukraine came to an end, and the “Crimean problem” was back on the agenda.

The Agreement on the Status and Conditions for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine as of 1997 foresaw the fleet remaining in Sevastopol until 2017. However, in 2010 the then president Viktor Yanukovych and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement on prolonging the stay by 25 years until 2042. Despite the discontent of Ukrainian society with it, the Ukrainian Parliament ratified the agreement due to the support of the coalition consisting of Yanukovych Party of Regions, the Communist Party, and the Lytvin Bloc.

Read also: Ukraine’s new fiction reflects warriors of light, Crimean fleet, and Russian occupation

Not only did Russia’s fleet play a crucial role during the occupation, but in 2014, Russia sent additional troops nicknamed “little green men” to the peninsula.

Ukrainian forces in Crimea did not know how to respond to the invasion, due to the lack of orders from Ukraine’s high commanders. Unfortunately, some of the Ukrainian servicemen opted to betray Ukraine amid the crisis. However, many of the servicemen were against betraying Ukraine and remained loyal.  

The film Crimea As it Was, directed by Kostiantyn Kliatskin and produced by BABYLON13 and DocNoteFilms shows the very beginning of the occupation. 

This film is a story of the officers, soldiers, and seamen who did not betray their oath of loyalty to the Ukrainian people during the takeover of Crimea. This is a film about those who weren’t tempted by the deceptive promises of becoming “fraternal peoples” by Russia’s black sea fleet’s leadership. These people were among the first to face “hybrid warfare” during Russia’s invasion of Crimea, and later, in eastern Ukraine.

Edited by: David Kirichenko
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