Ukrainian Ombudsman for human rights Dmytro Lubinets said Russia illegally holds 180 Ukrainian citizens as political prisoners. 116 of them are Crimean Tatars whom Russia imprisoned in occupied Crimea, Lubinets clarified.
He also recalled that February 26 became symbolical data of resistance to the Russian occupation, which has been going on for nine years. On this day in 2014, a mass rally in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine was organized by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in Simferopol near the Crimean parliament. Both Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars came out to resist Russian occupation of the peninsula while armed forces were incapable of active defense then.
“Due to the constant fear of Ukrainian resistance, Russia does not stop harsh repression and persecution of our citizens in the temporarily occupied Crimea: illegal searches, fabricated criminal cases, fabricated sentences, in particular, against representatives of the indigenous people of the peninsula – the Crimean Tatars. The recent death of two tortured political prisoners – Kostiantyn Shyring and Dzhemil Hafarov – was a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights and norms of international law by Russia. They were not provided with the necessary medical care. But even paying such a high price for the right to live in a free, independent and sovereign state will not stop the Ukrainian people,” Lubinets said.