Ukrainian officials say Russian security officers have detained five minority Crimean Tatar activists and raided the home of one of them
KYIV, Ukraine — Russian security officers have detained five minority Crimean Tatar activists and raided the home of one of them, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
According to the ministry’s statement, Russia’s Federal Security Service on Friday and Saturday detained Nariman Dhzelal, the deputy chairman of the Mejlis representative body for the Tatars in Crimea, as well as four other activists — Eldar Odamanov, Aziz Akhtemov, Asan Akhmetov and Shevket Useinov.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanded the release of the detained Crimean Tatars in a tweet on Saturday.
“The occupants of Crimea once again resort to persecution of Crimean Tatars. Regular raids and detentions take place in their homes,” Zelenskyy wrote. “All those detained must be freed!”
Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 in a move that has been denounced by most of the world. Ethnic Russians, who form a majority of Crimea’s 2.3 million people, widely supported the Russian annexation, but Crimean Tatars, who accounted for nearly 15%, opposed it. An estimated 30,000 Crimean Tatars have fled Crimea since 2014.
Some who stayed have faced a crackdown by Russian authorities, who banned the Crimean Tatars’ main representative body and some religious groups. About 80 Crimean Tatars have been convicted of various charges and 15 activists have gone missing, according to Amnesty International.
Last week, Ukraine hosted the Crimean Platform, an international summit aimed at building up pressure on Russia over the annexation. The fate of Crimean Tatars was one of the top issues on the agenda.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry maintained that the latest detentions were carried out in “retribution for participation in the inaugural summit of the Crimean Platform” and represented “the latest in a series of repressions by Russia, aimed at intimidating representatives of the Crimean Tatar people and ousting them from the temporarily occupied peninsula.”