On 21 October 2020, the international conference “Problems of water supply and use of water resources in Crimea under Russian occupation”, organized jointly by the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, was held in Kherson.
Speaking at the conference, First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova refuted all Russian allegations on the so-called “water blockade” of Crimea by Ukraine. She pointed out that according to international humanitarian law, Russia as an occupying power bears full responsibility for water supply in the peninsula.
Emine Dzhaparova noted that Russia artificially politicizes the “water issue”, attempting to shift its responsibility onto Ukraine. “Ukraine did not block any natural watercourse or river carrying water to Crimea. It merely suspended the artificial water preference that was previously provided to accelerate the economic and agricultural development of the peninsula. This is the price of the occupation, which will only rise, and Russia should have thought of it before committing the crime of occupation of Ukraine’s territory”, First Deputy Foreign Minister said.
She also added that the demand for water in Crimea increased due to the illegal actions of the Russian Federation, such as militarization of the peninsula and artificial changes of the demographic composition of its population in violation of international law.
"Ukraine is not going to satisfy the Russian military-industrial complex’ water needs. Crimea's own water resources are sufficient to cover the needs of its population even in the driest years," Dzhaparova stressed.
The First Deputy Foreign Minister also noted that in its accusations against Ukraine, Russia appeals to the need to protect some human rights. However, it is a well-known fact that it is Russia that grossly violates international humanitarian and human rights law in the temporarily occupied peninsula, which is reflected in the relevant annual resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General's special reports on the human rights situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
Another MFA representative, Ambassador-at-large Larysa Gerasko highlighted in her intervention the necessity to enhance international instruments and mechanisms of compliance by the occupying authorities, including Russia, with their international legal obligations.
The participants of the event also paid particular attention to the issues of the militarization of the Crimean peninsula and violations by Russia of international environmental law.