Crimea features high in recent EU-Russia communication

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, Russia, 03 September 2021. [EPA-EFE/EVGENIY PAULIN/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN]

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (8 September) told European Council President Charles Michel that the EU was continuing to discriminate against residents of Crimea, the Kremlin said in a readout of a phone call between Putin and Michel.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, prompting Western sanctions. The West and most of the world say the territory is Ukrainian. Kyiv wants the peninsula back.

“Attention was drawn to the fact that the EU continues to conduct a discriminatory policy towards inhabitants of the peninsula,” the Kremlin said in the readout, without giving further details.

Despite efforts of some firms to circumvent sanctions, the EU makes efforts not to do business and has no transport links to occupied Crimea.

How EU firms skirt sanctions to do business in Crimea

Products for sale in the Crimean stores of two European retailers are being shipped there from Russia via a ferry and port subject to EU sanctions, transportation employees said, indicating that companies are finding ways to dodge the punitive regime in place since 2014.

Earlier this week, a court in Russian-annexed Crimea ordered Crimean Tatar leader Nariman Dzhelyalov to be held in custody for two months on suspicion of involvement in an attack on a gas pipeline, Interfax news agency reported.

More than 40 people were detained over the weekend as they protested at the arrest of Dzhelyalov and four other people outside the local office of Russia’s Federal Security Service.

The criminal investigation against Dzhelyalov relates to a gas pipeline that was damaged on 23 August in a village near Simferopol, according to Interfax news agency.

Dzhelyalov, ex-deputy chairman of the Mejlis, the outlawed representative body of the Crimean Tatars on the peninsula, was arrested over the weekend, drawing condemnation from the EU, US and Ukraine.

The EU considers the detentions to be politically motivated and illegal under international law,” EU’s lead spokesperson for foreign affairs, Peter Stano, said in a statement.

“The EU does not recognise the enforcement of Russian legislation in Crimea and Sevastopol and expects all illegally detained Ukrainians to be released without delay,” he said, adding that

The EU also called on Russia to comply with its obligations under international law and stop human rights violations of Crimea residents, as also stated in the common statement of the International Crimean Platform Summit in August, Stano said.

Ukraine vows to bring Crimea back as international leaders affirm support in Kyiv

An international summit initiated by Ukraine reaffirmed on Monday (23 August) international commitments to de-occupy Crimea, seven and a half years after Russian troops occupied the strategic Black Sea peninsula.

The international summit had reaffirmed commitments to de-occupy Crimea, seven and a half years after Russian troops occupied the strategic Black Sea peninsula.

A joint declaration, signed by all 46 summit participants, including 14 country leaders, stressed the possibilities for Ukraine to regain full control of the peninsula.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, prompting Western sanctions. The West and most of the world says the territory is Ukrainian. Kyiv wants the peninsula back.

Crimean Tatars, who accounted for nearly 15% of Crimea’s 2.3 million people, opposed Moscow’s takeover, and an estimated 30,000 Tatars have fled Crimea since 2014.

Moscow, which has banned the Crimean Tatars’ main representative body, the Mejlis, in 2016 and some religious groups deemed as Islamic terrorist organisations, has strongly rejected accusations of discrimination against Crimean Tatars.

There are already more than a hundred political prisoners on the peninsula, some of them convicted to prison terms ranging from 12 to 18 years, in the midst of a relentless crackdown by the Russian authorities.

Global Europe Brief: Russia's crackdown on Crimean Tatars

In this week’s edition: Ukraine’s independence and Crimea summit, Belarus border, and Kabul attacks.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe