Exactly seven years ago, on February 26, 2014, the largest rally in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine took place in Ukrainian Simferopol involving tens of thousands of Crimean residents.
In memory of their civic position and courage, February 26 was declared in Ukraine the Day of Resistance to the Occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
We will never forget the events that took place seven years ago.
Crimea was the heart of Ukraine. Sunny, kind, bright.
Seven years ago, our heart was torn out. We will never forget who did it, and we will never forget who allowed it. Some argued that they had torn our heart out lawfully and politely. And now, holding it in their arms, they sincerely wonder why Ukraine is offended, why it does not want to have good relations, why there is so much hatred, why Ukraine cannot forget and forgive this...
What does it take for Ukraine to be able to smile happily and sincerely again? Everything is simple. Its heart must be returned. The Crimean peninsula must be returned.
Unfortunately, this has not happened yet. But no one will be able to annex our memory. The memory that Crimea remains occupied. That the boots were brutally wiped on security guarantees and international law. That the active militarization of the region is taking place. That the rights of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars are regularly violated in Crimea. Freedom of speech, thinking, religion is persecuted.
Public activists and journalists are being imprisoned. And now the Russian Federation holds captive more than a hundred political prisoners from Crimea. We are now finally taking real steps towards resolving all these issues.
And together with Ukraine's international partners, the first meeting of the Crimean Platform will take place on the eve of Independence Day in Kyiv. This is an international platform initiated by Ukraine to search for and further implement a set of measures to deoccupy the peninsula and protect the rights of Crimeans.
Today I signed a decree on certain measures aimed at deoccupation and reintegration of the Crimean peninsula. In particular, the government is tasked with organizing and launching the Crimean Platform, as well as taking measures to develop and support the Crimean Tatar language, culture and protect the rights of the residents of annexed Crimea.
I sincerely believe that the day will come when I will be able to repeal my own decree - simply because it will lose its relevance and Crimea will return to Ukraine. We will preserve the memory of all those who were not afraid to say on February 26, 2014: "Crimea is Ukraine". And we will do everything so that this thesis is never questioned by anyone again.
Dear Crimea! The whole of Ukraine is waiting for you.
"Welcome" is usually said to guests.
And relatives are told: "We look forward to seeing you at home".
Dear Crimeans! It's time to go back home.
We are waiting. We believe. We love. The people of Ukraine.