Ukrainian Parliament urges U.N. and E.U. to recognise this mass expulsion as genocide
Ukraine commemorates the 72nd anniversary of the forcible deportation of the Crimean Tatars.
Special ceremonies are held throughout the country to honour the victims of the communist repressions.
In 1944 by the order of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, about 200,000 Crimean Tatars, including women, children and the elderly, were taken out of their homes during the night and loaded on freight trains headed to Central Asia.
Read more about Crimean Tatar deportation in Ukraine Today's special project
Almost half of them died in the next few years from starvation and disease, caused by the deportation. Crimean Tatars say, this anniversary is symbolic. Because 72 years later they are still oppressed in their homeland, occupied by Russia.
In 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the former USSR called the deportation 'a criminal act'. On November 12, 2015 Ukraine's Parliament recognised this deportation as a genocide, and declared 18 May (the day when it all started) as a Day of Remembrance for victims of Crimean Tatar genocide. Recently the Ukrainian Parliament called on the U.N. and the E.U. to recognise the mass expulsion of Crimean Tatars, organised by the Soviet Union in 1944, as a genocide of the ethnicity.
At noon, Ukraine will hold a moment of silence to commemorate genocide victims.
Russian occupation authorities of Crimea banned mass memorial events dedicated to the forcible deportation of Crimean Tatars, which were planned by Mejlis for May 18.
However, Refat Chubarov, Chairman of Mejlis (which recently was outlawed by Russian-occupation authorities) suggested Crimean Tatars would meet near memorial stones, statues and sites associated with the tragic event that occurred on May 18, 1944. There they will pray for those who died in exile...
According to Ukraine and the West, Russia has been oppressing the Tatars since the day it occupied the peninsula. Various human rights groups have slammed the prohibition of Mejlis and mass arrests and detentions of independent journalists and local critics.