UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS

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Ten years since Russia’s occupation of Crimea

#UWC news
March 18,2024 730
Ten years since Russia’s occupation of Crimea

Ten years ago, Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula was invaded and illegally occupied by the Russian Federation. On March 16, 2014, Russia’s armed forces staged an illegal referendum at gunpoint. Two days later, on March 18, 2014, Moscow declared that a massive majority voted to join the Russian Federation. Vladimir Putin signed an “entry agreement” occupying Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. 

This occupation was the first time since the Second World War that an armed invasion altered the boundaries of Europe. The United Nations and the vast majority of the international community have never recognized the sham 2014 Crimean referendum and continue to regard it as illegitimate.

These events have also marked the beginning of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, which has lasted for more than 10 years up to date. Incapable of breaking Ukraine with eight years of low-intensity conflict, the criminal Putin regime launched its genocidal and full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.    

Over the long years of occupation, Russia aggressively converted Crimea into a massive military stronghold, employing it for heinous military actions in Syria, menacing the Caucasus and Mediterranean regions, and launching its 2022 assault on Ukraine. The Russian forces have been ruthlessly committing widespread human rights abuses and targeting members of the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian communities based on their ethnicity, faith, and language. The international community has strongly denounced Russia for its reprehensible acts of abducting Ukrainian children, engaging in ethnic cleansing, and imposing indoctrination camps in Crimea.

Despite the ten years of Russian occupation of Crimea, Ukrainians are rock-solid in refusing land trade for peace and remain confident that Crimea must return to Ukraine like any other Ukrainian territory under Russia’s occupation. After two years of full-scale war, Ukrainians fundamentally changed the balance of power in the Black Sea and defeated the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. With the help of Ukrainian naval drones and Western high-precision missiles, Ukraine destroyed more than 30% of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. Its base in Sevastopol ceased to be a safe port for the aggressor state’s ships. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are also systematically destroying Russian strategic military facilities on the peninsula. Simultaneously, the pro-Ukrainian resistance in Crimea becomes more visible.

As the battle for Crimea continues, the UWC appeals to all of Ukraine’s allies to consolidate their military support of Ukraine so that it can liberate all its lands from the deadly and brutal Russian occupation and put an end to this war.

“Our unity is crucial to defeating Russian aggression and restoring the international rules-based international law. Putin and all Russian war criminals must be brought to justice. Crimea is and always will be Ukraine!” stated UWC President Paul Grod.

Cover: the Zhovta Strichka (“Yellow Ribbon”) movement

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