De-occupation of Crimea will remain on EU-Ukraine political and expert dialogue agenda until full restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine
14 December 2020 18:45

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 14th of December, 2020 in video conference format.

The talks were held at the level of the highest officials of the ministries and departments of Ukraine, the European External Action Service and the European Commission. The Ukrainian side was headed by the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Ms. Emine Dzhaparova. Among the other members of the Ukrainian delegation were Anton Korynevych, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Igor Ponochovnyi, Head of the Prosecutor's office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ihor Yaremenko, Deputy Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Natalia Forsyuk, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, Ivan Lishchyna, Deputy Minister of Justice, Olena Bogdan, Head of the State Service on Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience and representatives of Ukrainian law enforcement and military institutions.

The sides exchanged thoughts on a whole spectrum of the continued Russia’s occupation of the peninsula in violation of the international law, namely the human rights violations, the relevant aspects of the security situation on the territory of Crimea and the territories surrounding it, the destruction of cultural heritage and reserves by the Russian occupation forces, illegal mining etc. The sides have also discussed the current state of affairs in the area of the EU non-recognition policy of the unlawful annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in comparison with the situation prior to the previous round of consultations.

During the discussion on the implementation of the EU non-recognition policy and sanctions in the context of the increased focus on their appropriate implementation by the EU Member States, Ms. Dzhaparova brought attention to the facts of some European politicians visiting the occupied Crimea and the cases of illegal conduct of business in Crimea by certain European companies. In this regard, Ms. Dzhaparova emphasized that the Ukrainian side will continue paying close attention to such violations.

The representatives of the European Commission have stressed the consistency of Brussels, when it comes to the non-recognition policy and sanctions, as well as the fact that the existing information on the violations is being constantly analyzed.

Both sides paid special attention to the consideration of the cases of human rights violations by the Russian occupation administration. Attention was drawn to the persecution of citizens on the grounds of ethnicity, religion and political views, which led to the imprisonment of over one hundred of Ukrainian citizens, most of whom are Crimean Tatars. The discussed topics also included the deprivation of the right to study in native Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages, change in the makeup of the population and the transfer of Russian population to the territory of Crimea, the absence of access of the population to the reliable sources of information etc. In this regard, Ms. 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.

In the course of discussing the increasing militarization of the peninsula, the Ukrainian side informed in detail of Russia's actions in the context of supplies of arms, transportation of the means of delivery of nuclear weapons, stationing of military personnel and capture of former nuclear weapons storage objects. It was emphasized that 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.

In addition, 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 of involving the EU in the work of the Platform were also discussed.

As was mentioned in the course of the consultations, “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”.

For reference. The EU-Ukraine consultations on the legal implications of the temporary occupation of the AR Crimea and the city of Sevastopol have been held annually since 2014.

It is one of the key platforms for the EU-Ukraine dialogue on a range of issues concerning the temporary occupation of the AR Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

The main aims of the consultations include talks with the EU on the relevant information on the measures taken in the context of resolution of a wide range of relevant issues created as a result of the temporary occupation of the Crimean Peninsula, as well as providing for the coordination and efficiency of the international efforts to implement the non-recognition policy of an unlawful attempt by the Russian Federation to annex the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and to counteract the efforts of the Russian Federation to undermine the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

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