The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its resolute protest over yet another conscription to military service by the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine - in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
In particular, this spring it is planned to send almost 3,300 people for “military service” from the territory of the Crimean Peninsula. Most cynically, majority of them are expected to serve beyond the Crimean Peninsula, in particular in the Southern Military District, whose military units and command are directly involved in carrying out armed aggression against Ukraine in Donbas.
Such actions by the Russian Federation constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits Russia, as an Occupying Power, from forcing protected persons to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces. It is also forbidden to pressure and propagate in favour of voluntary military recruitment, as well as to move persons under protection outside of the occupied territory.
Moscow continues to ignore calls from the international community to stop the violations of international law by pursuing conscriptions in the temporarily occupied Crimea. This is mentioned in particular in the UN General Assembly Resolution “Human Rights Situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, Ukraine”, adopted on 18 December 2019.
Moreover, the report of the UN Secretary-General “Human Rights Situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, Ukraine” dated 2 August 2019 which was prepared as a follow-up to the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/73/263 states that since 2015 at least 18,000 Crimeans have been conscripted into service in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The report also records numerous criminal prosecutions by the Russian occupying authorities of Crimea residents for their unwillingness to serve in the Russian army.
While the world community is struggling with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement of the so-called "spring conscription" looks particularly brutal. According to Article 56 of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, “the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining … public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine demands from the Russian Federation to cancel the conscription to military service in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and to ensure strict compliance with its international obligations as an occupying power.