REUTERS

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has drawn the European Union's attention to a number of European companies doing business in the occupied Crimea.

The 8th round of regular informal EU-Ukraine talks on the legal implications of the unlawful occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol was held on December 14, 2020, in video conference format, the ministry's press service reports.

The talks were held at the level of the highest officials of Ukraine's ministries and departments, the European External Action Service, and the European Commission.

The sides exchanged thoughts on a whole spectrum of the continued occupation of the peninsula by Russia in breach of international law, including rights violations, security situation in Crimea and around it, destruction of cultural heritage and reserves by the occupation forces, illegal mining, etc.

Also, the parties discussed the current state of affairs in the area of the EU non-recognition policy of the unlawful annexation attempt by Russia – compared with the situation reported prior to the previous round of consultations.

Read alsoUNGA backs updated resolution on Russia-occupied CrimeaUkraine's delegation brought to the EU attention the facts of some European politicians visiting the occupied Crimea, as well as the cases where certain European companies illegally conduct business there. In this regard, the ministry noted that Ukraine would continue closely monitoring such violations.

Representatives of the European Commission have stressed the consistency of Brussels' policies when it comes to the non-recognition and sanctions, as well as the fact that the incoming reports on the violations are always analyzed.

Both sides paid special attention to considering cases of human rights violations by the Russian occupation administration.

Attention was drawn to the persecution of citizens on ethnic, religious, and political grounds, which led to the imprisonment of over a hundred Ukrainian citizens, mostly Crimean Tatars. Among topics discussed was also the one on children being deprived of the right to study in native Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages, the altering of the demographic situation, the lack of public access to reliable information sources, etc.

In this regard, Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova welcomed the establishment of the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and expressed hope that the practical implementation of this mechanism would help hold accountable all those responsible for mass human rights violations in the occupied Crimea.

While discussing the increasing militarization of the occupied peninsula, the Ukrainian side elaborated on Russia's actions in the context of arms supplies, deployment of nuclear-capable missiles, military personnel, and seizure of former nuclear arms depots. Massive militarization of the peninsula increases military threats for the region of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, as well as for the Mediterranean, it was emphasized.

Read alsoOmbudsperson condemns sentencing of Islyamov in Russian-occupied CrimeaAlso, the European partners were introduced to a concept of the Crimean Platform – an initiative of the Ukrainian side, aimed at becoming the new instrument for the dialogue on de-occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Ways and instruments were also discussed of involving the EU in the Platform's work.

"The European Union will never recognize the unlawful annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation and will remain devoted to implementing its non-recognition policy, established in 2014," it was noted during consultations.

Crimean Platform to end Russian occupation of the peninsula

  • At the end of July, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced the finalization of the concept of the international platform, "Crimea is Ukraine." At the beginning, it is expected to be a consultative and advisory format, which will grow into a negotiation format.
  • On August 24, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that Ukraine would propose that Germany could join the future international platform for the end of the occupation of Crimea.
  • On September 23, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who participated in the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, called on partners to join the international platform for the end of the Russian occupation of Crimea.
  • On October 6, the president announced that the European Union is ready to join the platform.