On the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with representatives of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.
The meeting, which took place on the territory of the Crimea Platform office, was attended by Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov, leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev, and Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Tamila Tasheva.
The Head of State emphasized that today Ukraine honors the memory of the victims of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people, against whom a crime of genocide was committed 79 years ago.
"Hundreds of thousands of people were exiled to a foreign land. The whole people was deprived of home and there was an attempt to erase everything in Crimea that spoke of them," the President said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that almost half of the Crimean Tatar people were killed by the Soviet authorities, and they tried to convince the survivors that they would forever remain in a foreign land, as the ban on returning to their native Crimea lasted for decades.
The Head of State emphasized that today Ukraine felt the return of this evil, which had changed its symbols but not its essence.
"But this time we will destroy it. We have to do it. No matter what Russia does, its aggression will be defeated. It will not be able to steal either Crimea or any other part of our country. This is our home," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
According to him, May 18 is not only a day of mourning, but also a day of consolidation of the Crimean Tatar people to restore their rights and return to their homeland.
"We are doing everything to add to our common history the day of our common victory, which will open a safe way home for all our people and will be a pillar of freedom throughout our land," the President of Ukraine said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine is fighting for victory, in particular to honor the memory of all those killed by the evil of genocide, all those who were deported, whose children died or were not born.
The participants honored the memory of the victims of deportation and those who gave their lives defending Ukraine from Russian aggression with a moment of silence.
The Head of State emphasized that the Crimean Tatar people deserve a full-fledged memorial that will remind them of the crime committed against them, as well as the victims of deportation and the strength of this people.
"Dear participants, Mr. Mustafa-aga, I suggest that we work together on such a proposal, on such an idea, and choose the best option together. To create such a place. I think the people have deserved it for 80 years. I am sure that this is important for our entire Ukraine, for everyone," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President also noted that Ukraine continues to work for the liberation of Crimea from the occupiers and its full return to the state system of our country.
"When we created the Crimea Platform - this center of our common strength - we wanted the issue of Crimea to be at the top of the global agenda. Now, more and more leaders and states realize that without the return of Crimea, there will be no return of calm to international relations and full force to international law," the Head of State emphasized.
According to the President, in order to prepare for the reintegration of the peninsula, he signed a decree on the Advisory Council on Deoccupation and Reintegration of Crimea and Sevastopol.
"We remember Nariman Celâl, Server Mustafayev, Leniye Umerova and all those who were deprived of their freedom by the occupiers. And we are doing everything to liberate them. I am confident that the time will come when we will all be able to meet together on May 18 and be sure that our Crimea, its blooming gardens and hospitable homes have free life, warm memories of grandparents, smiling children and no trace of occupation," the President emphasized.
Refat Chubarov, for his part, noted that what the Soviet authorities did to the Crimean Tatar people 79 years ago proves that unpunished evil always returns with even more horrific crimes. Therefore, he said, the work of our state to establish a special tribunal for the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine is so important.
"The end of the Russian-Ukrainian war is not only about restoring the territorial integrity of our country, but also about establishing a mechanism to prevent a recurrence of what we are experiencing now," said Refat Chubarov.
The Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People also noted the decree on the Advisory Council on Deoccupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol signed by the Head of State.
"The fact that you announced this decree today is extremely important. The reintegration of Crimea will raise a lot of issues related to our people. Ukrainian citizens have been under occupation for nine years, and there are many different processes and different approaches. We have to concentrate everything within this council on deoccupation and work with all of this," he said.
Regarding the future status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Refat Chubarov believes that this issue should be discussed calmly and carefully after the peninsula is liberated from the occupiers, based on the Constitution of Ukraine, national interests and international law.
The Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people also noted the importance of continuing the work on the release of political prisoners in Russian-occupied Crimea, a total of about 200 people.
For his part, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev emphasized that the President of Ukraine's assurance at the Iftar in April this year that there can be no peace agreement with the aggressor until the complete liberation of all occupied territories is achieved was highly respected by the Crimean Tatar people.
Mustafa Dzhemilev emphasized the importance of adopting the Law "On Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine" initiated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2021. According to him, on the basis of this law, decisions can be made to restore the historical toponymy of Crimea, which was totally russified after the deportation and genocide of the Crimean Tatar people 79 years ago.
Commander of the Crimea Battalion of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Isa Akayev assured the Head of State that today Crimean Tatars are defending their freedom, honor and homeland with weapons in their hands.
"I appeal to my brothers and sisters: if you have the opportunity to resist, do so. If you have the opportunity to join us, do so. Today we have a great opportunity to return home as winners, armed, like our distant ancestors. Victory will be ours!" he said.