17:36 Jul. 31, 2016
Russia heavily criticized by international rights groups for its treatment of Crimea's indigenous Turkic-speaking people since Moscow annexed the peninsula in March 2014
Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev says that the Russian Federation has been eliminating Crimean Tatars on the occupied Black Sea peninsula, according to Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.
"Out of 22 people who have disappeared in Crimea, no one has been found yet. That is the state we are dealing with. Therefore, there should be no illusions – that the state [the Russian Federation] has been rooting out our people," Dzhemilev said at a meeting of the executive committee of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars (WCCT), which is underway in the Turkish city of Eskisehir, Ukrainska Pravda wrote.
Speaking about those Crimean Tatars who have gone missing in the territory of Russia-annexed Crimea, Dzhemilev mentioned member of the WCCT's Executive Committee Ervin Ibragimov.
"It is sad that our close friend Ervin was kidnapped a few months ago ... We hope that he will be found and returned to his family, but we must be realistic," Dzhemilev added.
Reporting by UNIAN
Last year Ukraine's parliament has officially proclaimed February 20, 2014 as the beginning of the temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia.
International organizations slammed Crimea occupation and annexation as illegal and condemned Moscow's actions. Consequently, the Western countries introduced a number of sanctions against Russia. Russia declined to acknowledge the occupation of the peninsula and in its turn labelled it as a ‘restoration of historical justice'.
Russia has been heavily criticized by international rights groups and Western governments for its treatment of Crimea's indigenous Turkic-speaking people since Moscow annexed the peninsula in March 2014. Arrests, disappearances, and killings of Crimean Tatars have been reported.
Crimean Tatars claim there have been more than 250 cases of human rights' violations, and Russian-appointed authorities continue to conduct illegal searches in the homes of those intolerant to Russian occupation.
Since 2014 20,000 people are said to have left Crimean peninsula.